Health standards and the quality and quantity of medical facilities can be a concern for people planning vacations. In Aruba, tourists have little to worry about.
Most hotels have made accommodations in case their guests are ill or injured, and if Aruba can't provide the services needed, an airlift to a nearby facility (in Curaçao) is available. Aruba also holds the world's second-largest desalination plant, so water is safe for consumption.
The only medical requirement for people traveling to Aruba over the age of 6 months is a yellow fever vaccination if traveling from an infested locale. The vaccination certificate will suffice as legal proof. Despite few reported cases of dengue fever, it might be wise to consider taking the appropriate precautions for this disease as well. Contact your personal physician, as well as the Center for Disease Control before your travels to ensure that no new warnings have been issued.
If you are traveling with prescription medications, it is best to ensure that they are contained in their original packaging, with a clearly marked label. Additionally, pack the prescription slip or a note from your physician detailing your need for the medication. This will prevent confiscation as you make your way through customs. Also, avoid putting your medication in the "Day of the Week" pill boxes, because their lack of medical markings may be grounds for confiscation as well.
Seasoned travelers will tell you to pack a Medical Travel Kit, which will contain everything you need when small health concerns arise. This kit should have the following items:
For emergencies beyond hotel assistance, there are a host of quality hospitals with reputable staffs to further assist you. For after-hours emergencies, the emergency rooms of Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital (Phone: 297-587-4300) or Centro Medico (Phone: 297-582-0840) are open 24 hrs. Both facilities are equipped to handle non-urgent medical attention as well. Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital has staff on-call, and appointments are mostly made through your hotel. Centro Medico's consulting hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. If Aruban medical services are not sufficient for the problem at hand, an airlift can be arranged on behalf of Mr. Richard Rupert (Phone: 297-582-9197). Burn victims, however, are referred to burn centers in the United States.
Be sure to talk with your insurance carrier before traveling to Aruba, or any destination for that matter. It is possible that some U.S. insurance plans do not cover medical expenses incurred while traveling. Medical expenses in Aruba for tourists can be costly, so if your insurance company does not provide you with sufficient coverage, you should obtain traveler's insurance or other supplemental coverage before visiting the island. If you plan to participate in any water-related activity during your vacation, then a separate diver protection insurance is available.
Many of Aruba's hotels keep an in-house doctor for consultation and general practice. Hotels also have the ability to schedule dental appointments for travelers with local dentists (on-call) if necessary. Be sure to consult the concierge before making the trip to the hospital. If necessary for emergency, the hotel physician has jurisdiction to direct the patient to the hospital. The emergency department at most hospitals has a physician on site 24 hrs. a day. Types of physicians include: general practice, internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, cardiology, radiology and anesthesiology.
No one wants to think about a medical emergency happening during their vacation, but the possibility does exist. Arrive armed with the knowledge of what to do in such a situation, and you can avoid the confusion and panic that can occur when something does go wrong.
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