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Argentina - Health And Safety
Argentina is a country where you most definitely need to make sure you are fully covered for the whole time you are away, and for all the activities you intend to undertake.
Dengue & Malaria
This disease is common to Latin America and can occur throughout the year – but is more prevalent during the wet seasons (May to August and November to January).
The northern Argentine provinces bordering Paraguay and Bolivia are especially susceptible (notably Chaco, Corrientes, Misiones, Formosa, Salta and Jujuy). Cases have been confirmed in the capital Buenos Aires and the Buenos Aires province. However you may be at risk in any part of the country.
Travellers should take extra precautions to prevent against mosquito bites – by wearing suitable clothing and by liberally applying mosquito repellent.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever usually begin seven to 10 days after being bitten and include high fever with aching joints and bones and a headache. If you develop these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.
Malaria is a risk in rural areas along the northern borders with Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. You should consult your doctor or travel clinic about prophylaxis against malaria before leaving home.
But wait, there’s one more big one.
Vaccination is recommended for those aged nine months and above travelling to the regions bordering Paraguay and Brazil in the provinces of Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, Salta province and to all areas of Misiones province, including Iguaçu Falls.
Be aware if you have visited Misiones Province in the six days prior to your return home, some western countries, like Australia, will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on re-entry.
Ok, well that’s the big three scary diseases out of the way.
But be aware outbreaks of water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, hepatitis, typhoid and rabies) occur from time to time. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before travelling.
In rural areas, be sure to boil all drinking water or simply drink bottled water. And remember to avoid ice cubes and salads and other foodstuffs rinsed in local water. You should also avoid raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever, or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Also the high levels of air pollution in Buenos Aires may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.
You may not know it but Argentina is a popular destination for outdoor and adventure sports enthusiasts. However foreign citizens have died while mountain climbing, skiing, trekking, and hunting.
Not So Easy
Argentina boasts the highest peak outside of the Himalayas, Mount Aconcagua. Its guidebook billing as affordable and ‘requiring no climbing skills’ attracts hundreds of tourists every year. However inexperienced mountaineers should bear in mind that Aconcagua’s 7000 metre altitude, freezing temperatures, and savage storms make it one of the world’s most difficult climbs.
Travellers who ascend to altitudes greater than 2500m, particularly if the ascent is rapid, or who at higher altitudes make further rapid ascents are at risk of developing altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the very physically fit. Those who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting (acclimatizing) to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing are most at risk.
If you plan to travel to altitude you should see your doctor prior to travel and get advice specific to you and your situation.
And for those planning on going down rather than up - a decompression chamber is located in Puerto Madryn.
And as a final note, remember medical facilities in Argentina are generally of a reasonable standard, but private medical clinics often require cash payment prior to service, including for emergency care.
Also foreign-brand medications may not be readily available and some locally produced medications do not meet stringent western standards and so may have adverse side effects.
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