How To Stay Healthy in the Caribbean Part 1

Common and Uncommon

Health Concerns

Island Descriptions

Hotel Search

Cruise Planning

Island Tours

Caribbean Recipes

Caribbean Weather


Staying Healthy in the Caribbean

To find out about possibly serious health situations at your destination, read the latest updates on Travelers' Health Information for the Caribbean region provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

Yet of all the potential health problems, overexposure to the sun is the most common problem. The Caribbean sun is more intense than almost anywhere else in the world. It's at its worst between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Gradual exposure to it is mandatory to avoid that painful Larry The Lobster look.   

Also, wear sun block (SPF20 and higher) and drink lots of non-alcoholic liquid to keep from being dehydrated. It may be necessary to wear sunblock even on your lips. Be particularly careful to cover ears, jaws and the lower part of your neck.

Sunglasses are essential. Bright sun reflected off the water is as much as 10,000 times brighter than is comfortable to the eye. Polarized sunglasses work the best.

Here are a few possible common problems & their remedies:

High Humidity & Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when you lose a lot of liquid walking around. Not replacing it will make you feel tired and sluggish. It takes about two weeks to adjust to the Caribbean 's high humidity, but you can keep your energy level up several ways:

Air conditioning: If you're accustomed to it at home, sleep with it on at night. You will feel far more rested than if you sleep with a ceiling fan and a natural breeze; you're making a lot of high energy demands on your body during the day, so pamper it at night.

2) Salt:While generally something to avoid, you need to increase your intake in the tropics to conserve body fluid.

Potassium/rehydration salt supplements: Before you try these, eat several bananas (rich in potassium) every morning. If you still feel drained and can't kick into gear, try supplements in moderation. I always take potassium supplements before a particularly long hike.

Heatstroke/Sun Poisoning

OK,so you didn't listen. Symptoms of oncoming heatstroke are dizziness, vertigo, fevers, blister, headache, nausea, sudden lack of sweat and delusions. Get out of the heat immediately.

Take a cool bath or shower. Drink fruit juices or Gatorade if available to replace lost electrolytes. If no improvement,see a doctor.

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