Staying Healthy in Guadeloupe

Staying healthy while on vacation can be as easy as following a few tips

Photo credit: © István Csák |

Overall, the health care facilities located in Guadeloupe are good and have modern technology. The biggest problem that travelers may have when trying to receive medical treatment is finding a doctor that speaks and understands their language. Hotels and the Guadeloupe tourist office can be of assistance in locating physicians that speak specific languages.

Guadeloupe has five modern hospitals and about 23 clinics located on the country's various islands. There is also a 24-hour emergency room at the Centre Hôpitalier Universitaire de Pointe-à-Pitre, which can be reached at telephone number 590-89-10-10. If you need an ambulance while in Guadeloupe, dial 18 for immediate assistance. If you have an extreme medical emergency while visiting the islands, you may have to be airlifted to a nearby country with state-of-the-art medical facilities.

Unlike many other tropical locations, there are almost no communicable diseases transmitted by parasites in Guadeloupe. Vacationers can avoid potential health risks during their stay on the islands by following some simple health advice:

  • Because Guadeloupe is located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, the sun gets very very hot on the island. Vacationers should wear protective clothing and adequate amounts of sunscreen with a high SPF when spending time outdoors;

  • The Manchineel tree, which is similar to an apple tree, has a mildly poisonous sap, and travelers should avoid touching its leaves or eating its fruit. Trees are often marked with warning signs;

  • While fishing, remember that some tropical species of fish eat poisonous seaweed, which can cause food poisoning in humans. Before you eat a fish that you've caught, consult one of the local islanders;

  • Avoid swimming in fresh bodies of water such as rivers, because some contain Bilharziosis, a parasitic disease. Most of these dangerous bodies of water are marked;

  • Wear mosquito repellent to avoid nasty bug bites that may transmit a flu-like virus.

No vaccinations are required to enter the country of Guadeloupe, but it is recommended that travelers, especially children, be up-to-date on routine immunizations such as tetanus-diphtheria, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, and varicella. Travelers to any foreign country are advised to receive Hepatitis A and B, and yellow fever inoculations prior to traveling. Also, if you're currently on any medications, be sure to pack an adequate supply of your medications in their clearly labeled, original containers, along with a signed and dated letter from your primary physician explaining your medical condition and listing all medications.

Vacationers should contact their insurance provider to make sure that they're covered when traveling abroad. If your policy does not cover international travel, you can purchase supplemental insurance specifically for your travels. If you become ill while on vacation, medical expenses can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, so it's best to have some coverage. Also, bring your insurance identification card, claims forms, and other relevant insurance documents with you while on vacation.

Finally, even small medical concerns can leave you out of commission for a day or so.  Pack a Travel Medical Kit for these instances.  Include the following items:

  1. Painkillers including acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen;
  2. Antihistamines;
  3. Topical disinfectant;
  4. Antacids;
  5. Rubbing alcohol;
  6. Bandages;
  7. Thermometer.

Following some general medical advice while on vacation in Guadeloupe can help you to have a safe and enjoyable time on these gorgeous islands.


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