Preparation – Vaccines and preventive medication

A 6-month trip to Central and South America comes with minor health risks. The rules of hygiene, water and food quality are highly variable from one place to another, and they are certainly not what my body is used to in North America.

Certain precautions must be taken before departure.

In Quebec, we are fortunate to have Travel Health Clinics and I just happened to had my appointment to see a nurse and a doctor yesterday.

The biggest concerns for my trip:


  • Yellow fever
  • Rage
  • Hepatitis (A + B)
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid


  • Malaria (Malaria): Malarone
  • Altitude sickness: Diamox
  • Cholera: Dukoral
Mosquito transmitting malaria
Mosquito transmitting malaria

The areas where I have to take preventive medication against Malaria (Malaria) are Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The other countries are not affected. These precautions are wearing long, loose fitting clothing, the use a bug repellent (DEET) and taking daily medication.

Another good little trick that the doctor is mentioned me to keep my own needles and syringes in case of need outside the major centers. It is somewhat common that they are cleaned and reused to save on budget.

Keep in mind that all of this must be done in advance, as some vaccines must be repeated (rabies and hepatitis) and may be subject to an audits to determine whether antibodies are present.

As for water, I’ll bring two filters, one for solids (Katadyn Hicker Pro) and one for bacterias (Steripen – UV Water Purifier). It is also important to remember that even bottled water can be simply filled with taped water in some areas.

Hope these precautions remain just precautions!

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Marc Ouellet

Adventurer at heart. Travelling on 2 wheels to South America soon!

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