The primary health care risk in Costa Rica are diseases from mosquito bites such as malaria, dengue fever, Venezuelan equine encephalitis and other mosquito-borne diseases.
In certain areas, the risk is greater than in others. But wherever one is planning to move to Costa Rica, protective clothing such as long pants, shirts with long sleeves and shoes instead of sandals or slippers are highly recommended, along with insect repellent lotion and surroundings that are free of stagnant water where the mosquitoes may breed.
Other health issues in Costa Rica may be waterborne such as leptospirosis. Although the bacterium itself rarely infects humans, water contaminated by an infected animal's urine can transmit the disease through breaks in the skin or mucous membranes. Drinking water from the tap is also not advised. It is best to filter, boil or disinfect tap water before drinking or one can simply drink bottled water. Undercooked or raw food should also be avoided, especially fish and meat, while fruits and vegetables should be peeled. To avoid inconvenience during one's first few days in Costa Rica, it is good to bring anti-diarrheal medications.
With enough awareness, one could escape the risk and cost of being ill in this country whether one opts for public or private health insurance.
There are no major health risks in this country, but being always one step ahead with prevention can make even the minor ones insignificant. Those with international health insurance must ensure, however, that their policies actually hold in this country. Otherwise, they can always sign up with the government's social health insurance system.
Photo: Sanofi Pasteur
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