Health & Medical
Costa Rica's climate, particularly its intense heat and humidity, makes dehydration a serious risk, especially for visitors who are unaccustomed to the weather. Water loss in humans most commonly occurs through perspiration, but bouts of severe diarrhea or vomiting can further exacerbate symptoms of dehydration. Travelers should always drink an adequate amount of water or other clear liquids throughout a single day - at least eight 10-ounce glasses. Bring along a bottle of water whenever hiking or spending time at the beach. The milk of green coconuts is also a viable mode of hydration. This liquid consists mostly of pure water, and also contains many of the minerals and electrolytes one loses during perspiration. Caldo, a clear soup made of broth and vegetables or some form of meat, is effective at restoring water levels and is generally easy to get down.
Amoebas & Parasites
Though the ground water in Costa Rica is, for the most part, clean and drinkable, parasitic microbes periodically find their way into otherwise potable sources, especially in those of rural communities. These “bugs” can wreak havoc on the intestinal system, and if not properly treated, can do permanent damage to internal organs. Symptoms of parasitic behavior often include severe attacks of diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort.
For this condition, it is not necessary to see a doctor. A pharmacist can give the needed drug based on lab results. Taking the proper medicine is important; without the drugs, the diarrhea may cease, but the organisms may still be doing damage to your body. Constipation and lack of energy may indicate persistence of the bug.
Read the information that accompanies any drug to learn about possible side affects.
Minimize the chance of contracting bugs and parasites by avoiding drinks made with local water or fruits and vegetables that do not require peeling.
Thankfully, this disease has become less common and occurs only in remote and isolated areas of the country, such as the banana plantations in the Valle de la Estrella in Talamanca.
This disease causes very strong attacks of diarrhea and sometimes vomiting, all which lead to death by dehydration. Hydration is tantamount; a hydration solution called suero is readily available at any drugstore for a few cents. If your symptoms are intense and persistent and are not accompanied by a fever, quickly seek medical attention.
Fortunately, Costa Rica is well educated and aware of the disease, and much effort has been invested into seeing that it does not sweep uncontrolled through the country. Epidemics are rare and swiftly dealt with.
This virus, which has been especially active in the past decade, is carried and contracted by way of the common mosquito. Victims who are symptomatic spike fevers of more than 101°, and develop excruciating headaches. In addition, acute joint, muscle, and eye pain are common. As soon as these symptoms present themselves, seek medical attention immediately. People usually recover from the disease, but catching it a second time can be fatal. Dengue fever is still very much a problem; however, in recent years, the government has had significant success in fumigating and destroying inland ponds and streams where mosquitoes breed.