Health and safety in Chile - The Traveller


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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Health and safety in Chile


Chile poses little health problems for the traveler. Hygiene is good and the risk of infectious disease vector (mosquitoes, etc..)


In South America, as elsewhere, accidents are the leading cause of death and repatriation.
Watch out for Chilean endless roads: in the desert North, sun glare and heat cause many accidents. In addition, dogs, donkeys and goats sometimes arise in the bend of the road! This is not the best climbing routes to the altiplano, especially those used by truckers in neighboring countries. Never release your vigilance.

- Medical Emergencies: tel. : 131.

The sun

In the north, the sun is strong! In the South, for several years now, we see the consequences of the famous hole in the ozone layer, which makes the sun's rays more harmful to the skin. Plan a sunscreen or sunblock with high index, lip balm and sunglasses effective. Please have also a collyrium (dust and sun dry eyes). Think finally to stay hydrated, especially at altitude. Altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness or "mountain sickness")

Occurs mainly above 3,000 m altitude. It is essential to be prepared: the eve of departure at altitude, drink lots of plain water, avoided alcohol, coffee and cigarettes eat light, sleep well. Trying to mount increments. Ideally, no more than 500 m of ascent per day beyond 2000 m.

The first few days should be allowed the body to adapt to conditions of altitude and therefore not to tire him: you will do less physical effort, the better off you will be. In case of mild headaches, take only paracetamol. Moreover, the preventive dose of Diamox is now recognized efficacy (at best prescribed by a specialist).

In case of violent symptoms, get off at faster than 500 m minimum.


Vaccinations called "universal"

As with any journey, it should be up to date for the following vaccines:

- Diphtheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough;
- Hepatitis B;
- For children and all those born before 1980: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR).

The more specific vaccines

- No Yellow Fever in Chile; any administrative requirement for the vaccine (except to go to Easter Island when you come from an endemic area).

- Hepatitis A: Vaccination vital to all adult travelers born after 1950 in Europe.

- No malaria in Chile.

Miscellaneous advice

- Avoid contact with insects (especially with vinchucas, bugs) that transmit a daunting - fortunately rare - Disease: American trypanosomiasis or Chagas disease. For sensitive skin, protect against fleas!

- Rodents can transmit viral hemorrhagic fevers, sometimes frightening. Would catch the virus by contact with excrement or respiration of some animals. In practice, you run no risk.

To this was added hygiene rules well known:

- Prevent insect bites (repellents, nets, etc.).
- Stopping the diarrhea medicines can be bought in pharmacies without a prescription prior to departure.


Chile is probably the safest country in Latin America. It's still not a reason for failing to take minimal precautions. Take care of your belongings in public places (bus stations and trains, markets ...) and in public transport in Santiago.

- Tips: avoid walking with things of value. Always keep a copy of your papers (passport, driving license ...) at the hotel. As in all countries, out with the minimum amount of money on you. Do not flaunt cash in public, be discreet when paying. Wherever you are, if something goes wrong, Police: tel. : 133.

- In Santiago: as in all major cities, there are more risks. The case most often reported are pickpocketing, assault remain very rare.

- At Valparaiso: keep an eye on your belongings especially careful, because the city, economically unstable, has a petty crime than elsewhere. There rampant organized gangs who identify very quickly the foreigners, especially those who walk openly with valuables: cameras, camcorders ...

- On the road: better to ride day and night.

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