Staying Healthy in Jamaica

When traveling to Jamaica, consider these tips for a safe, healthy, and enjoyable trip

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Health and medical considerations are a concern whenever traveling abroad, but for the most part, you'll find good quality health care in Jamaica.

Travelers heading to Jamaica are required to meet only one health requirement: anyone above the age of 1 must obtain a yellow fever vaccination certificate only if traveling to Jamaica from a contaminated locale. Jamaica has no other health requirements before arriving on the island, but Hepatitis A is a frequently occurring disease, and acquiring proper vaccinations is advised before traveling.

If you are traveling with prescription medication, carry it in its original, clearly marked container (avoid designer pill boxes) alongside a prescription slip and note from your physician stating your medical need for the medication.  It will also be wise to pack a Travel Medical Kit with the following items:

  • Painkillers including acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen;
  • Antihistamines;
  • Topical disinfectant;
  • Antacids;
  • Rubbing alcohol;
  • Bandages;
  • Thermometer.

For health and medical treatment while staying in Jamaica, first consult the hotel for recommendations regarding a medical clinic, dentist or doctor. The majority of hotels keeps doctors and dentists on call, so check with the concierge in non-emergency situations before making the trip to the hospital. If you need urgent medical attention, visit one of Jamaica's 16 public or six private hospitals located around the island. The following list provides the names, locations and phone numbers of the primary medical facilities tourists should visit if necessary:

Hospital Location Telephone
University Hospital of the West Indies Mona, Kingston 876-927-1620
St. Ann's Bay Hospital St. Ann's Bay 876-794-8565
Port Antonio Hospital Naylor's Hill, Port Antonio 876-715-5778
Mo Bay Hope Medical Center Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay 876-953-3981
Cornwall Regional Hospital Mt. Salem, Montego Bay 876-952-5100

For an ambulance, dial 110 immediately. Also, be sure to check if your insurance policy covers medical expenses incurred while traveling. Medical expenses in Jamaica can be costly, so if your insurance company does not provide sufficient coverage, you should obtain traveler's insurance before visiting the island.

Many larger hotels and chains in Jamaica will have a doctor on-call at all times. It is best that you have any paperwork from your own doctor if you may need it on your travels, including prescription information.

Drinking Water

Piped-in water is usually safe to drink because it is filtered and chlorinated. However, the chlorination could cause mild abdominal upsets, so if you're prone to stomach problems, it may be wise to drink bottled water, which is readily available.

It is not in anyone's big vacation plans to fall ill while they are visiting Jamaica, but it is always a possibility.  When you arrive on the island prepared to take steps should illness occur, handling the situation will be that much easier.

 

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