Medical Guidelines | Island Expeditions

Medical Guidelines

Please remember that you are responsible for consulting a medical professional prior to trip departure regarding any health considerations you may have.

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Though not rigorous, IE trips can be physically challenging.  As such, a thorough medical examination is advised.  An IE medical questionnaire must be completed prior to your trip departure.   If you have a medical condition for which you are taking medications then a doctor’s signature may be required.  

The following are recommendations for your protection :  

Tetanus - A current tetanus inoculation is required to participate in any IE trip.  Tetanus shots are usually good for ten years.  If you are unsure of your last inoculation please check with your doctor.   

Hepatitis A - We recommend a vaccination to protect you against Hepatitis A because you can get Hepatitis A through contaminated food or water, regardless of where you are eating or staying.  Havrix* a series of two inoculations: the first covers you for a year and the second is administered a minimum of 6 months later and is good for up to 20 years.   There is also another option which covers you for Hepatitis A & B, called Twinrix.  Please contact your local physician for details.  

Malaria - When traveling in Belize, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. Your exposure will depend on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. For those participants on the Epic Belize, Maya World Extension, or Rainforest Canopy Extension, taking anti-malaria pills (Chloraquine) is an option.  A program usually starts two weeks prior to the commencement of your trip and five weeks after you return home.  Please contact your physician or local travel clinic for details.  

Dengue Fever - An illness transmitted by mosquitoes, with flu-like symptoms.  It is becoming more prevalent in rural and even urban areas in the tropics.  The most important preventative measures are to wear pants, socks, and a long sleeve shirt in the evening hours or early morning when mosquitoes are out.  Also use liberal amounts of insect repellent on your clothes.   

Zika Virus - Zika Virus is a developing issue in South America.  Cases of Zika have been identified on four continents. It has been detected in more than 20 countries in the Americas including the United States.  Symptoms can include mild fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain, and general feeling of illness that begins 2-7 days after infection. Four out of five people who are infected have no symptoms at all.  It is a mosquito born virus, that infects the same insects as Dengue Fever, which is quite rare in Belize, and even more rare from November through May.  Here are some facts:

  • The spread of the virus has been linked to thousands of birth defects (microcephaly) thus prompting countries to advise pregnant women against going to the areas where it has been detected.
  • If you are not a woman of childbearing age who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant, the Zika virus is unlikely to cause you any serious trouble.
  • There is no vaccine or cure for Zika.  
  • There have been no deaths attributed to the Zika virus. Hospitalization as a result of Zika is uncommon.
  • Zika cannot be transmitted person to person or through the air, food, or water.
  • Zika may be transmitted from person to person via sexual contact.

When traveling to countries where Zika virus or mosquitoes-related illness are found, travellers are advised to take the following steps:

  • Stay informed about the Zika virus as it develops
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and shoes when "buggy"
  • Use insect repellents and reapply as directed. If also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Typhoid & Polio - Consult with your physician about precautions and appropriate vaccinations. These are not considered a problem in Belize although it is possible to get typhoid through contaminated food or water, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller towns or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

Chikungunya - Is a viral infection transmitted to humans throught the bite of infected mosquitos.  Travellers should take measures to prevent mosquito bites both indoors and outdoors, especially during the daytime.  There is no preventative vaccine against Chikungunya.

Web Resources 
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Also, if you experience any unusual symptoms after returning home from your trip please call our office and let us know what’s happening as we may have information that will be helpful to you.