Health conditions are adequate in Managua, but in the outer areas of the country extreme caution is recommended.
|The Baptist Hospital, one of the two adequate hospitals in the country, has some modern equipment like this CAT scanner. Copyright: Thinkquest Team 17749|
Contracted from insects:
Dengue fever: common
Venezuelan equine: occurs
Chagas’ disease: occurs
Other: yellow fever, influenza, measles, diphtheria, rabies (common in dogs and bats)
Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that have to be peeled. Avoid dairy products, raw seafood, and especially street vendors! And never, ever ask your friendly guide to take you to eat at a "real" Nicaraguan restaurant. Food and water-born diseases are the primary cause of illnesses in visitors to Nicaragua, so use caution.
Don’t forget to use plenty of sunscreen and insect repellents which contain DEET. If you are going to be sleeping somewhere that is not closed in, consider purchasing a mosquito net. Wear clothing that will offer the least amount of exposed skin while traveling in the rural areas. Remember, mosquitoes are not your only fear, by a long shot. Fleas, ticks, and lice can crawl anywhere and they do.
Dengue Fever: This viral infection is transmitted by mosquitoes in residential areas and causes symptoms similar to the flu: high fever, severe headaches, joint and muscle pain, and rash. Sometimes the face and neck will become very flushed along with chills in the beginning. The fever sets on very rapidly, but the rash will appear about three days after the fever. There is no vaccine, but it does not cause death, except in very rare cases. It can be treated by bed rest and fever-reducing medecines like acetaminophen, but not aspirin. The mosquitoes that carry this disease are predominant in urban areas during the day, though they rarely live above 4000 feet.
Yellow Fever: This is a viral disease which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, but it is exceptionally rare. Symptoms include: fever, chills, headache, vomiting, jaundice, internal bleeding, kidney failure, and death in about 5% of those affected. There is no drug to treat it, but there is a vaccine. If you feel that you should receive the vaccine, contact your doctor to make sure that you are physically eligible to receive the vaccine.
Parasites: These invisible creatures are usually transmitted through food and water, but some can also penetrate bare skin (walking barefoot in the grass) and mosquitoes can transmit others. Parasites usually cause persisting discomfort in general, but specific symptoms include: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rashes or itchy skin, digestive problems such as abdominal pain or diarrhea, eye problems, and anemia. Travelers should take care to eat well cooked meals, not drink beverages made with non-purified water, wear shoes, and avoid insect bites.
Cholera: This diarrhea illness is caused by the infection of the intestine and is usually mild or without symptoms. It is transmitted by eating or drinking food which has not been prepared properly. Drinking tap water in rural areas and eating whole tomatoes which have not been washed in pure water would be examples of risky behavior. Approximately one in 20 infected persons has severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these cases, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours. Those who follow the eating precautions on this site are at virtually no risk and therefore a vaccine would be redundant.
Hepatitis A: This viral infection of the liver is transmitted by the fecal oral route, by directly touching an infected person, by eating contaminated food or beverages, and from uncooked fruits and vegetables which have been contaminated by handling. Symptoms include: fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice, aches and pains, vomiting, dark urine and light stools. No specific cure is available, so prevention by vaccination is the only alternative. Extensive visits to rural areas, close contact with local people, and eating under poor sanitary conditions present the greatest risk. However, the disease occurs in those using moderate precautions as well. As a first line of precaution, receive one of the two vaccines which are available to prevent Hepatitis A. Secondly, heat foods to higher than 85 degrees Celsius for more than one minute, in order to kill the virus.