How to survive the Jungle – Top 5 medical complaints for Nosara tourists.

  • February 12, 2015


As visitor numbers to Nosara increase annually so does the number of patients walking (sometimes limping) through the doors of Playa Guiones Paradise Medical Centre. Although accidents invariably happen some basic planning and precautions can help keep you happy and healthy during your travels. Nosara Real Estate Report recently spent some time with Paradise Medicals resident Doctor Alejandro Gutierrez to get the lowdown on the most common complaints and how to avoid them.

1. Ear infections / Swimmers ear

KSsurfersearEar infections and swimmers ear is the complaint that Paradise Medical deals with the more than any other. Nosara visitors spend a lot of time in the water. The water can get trapped which creates humidity in the ear canal leaving the area open to infection. This is a case where prevention really is better than cure, and the simplest way to prevent it is placing a few alcohol drops in the ear after being in the water.

2. Gastro intestinal issues – Travellers diarrhea.

washvegThis one can really ruin your vacation. Restaurants in Nosara generally have a very high standard of hygiene, but if you’re cooking at home sometimes vegetables may contain certain bacteria. The same goes for the water. Even though the water here is great, it may contain bacteria that visitors digestive systems are unfamiliar with. For a few people it can take time to adjust. If you’re preparing food at home be sure to wash all vegetables thoroughly.

3. Allergies and skin complaints.

sunburnSkin issues are a common complaint here, and are usually the result of sunburnt skin combining with the dust. A lot of tourists underestimate the strength of the Guanacaste midday sun. Be careful to wear the right clothes, and to apply some solid PF45 sun cream before outdoor activities, particularly if you just rolled into town and your skin hasn’t had time to acclimate.

4. Surf related injuries.

dropinThere are days when I walk down to the beach, see the conditions, and just know that there will be surf casualties arriving at the office that day. Most surf injuries happen on smaller days in strong offshore winds. The small size attracts beginners which means people start dropping in and ditching their boards rather than duck diving. Also, the windy condition mean surfboards often get blown back and hit people. It’s a tough one to prevent. People are always going to want to surf, but a good start would be for the surf schools to teach students etiquette and how to read conditions.

5. Flu

fluThis one can be difficult to avoid. Flu is contracted in so many different ways. People coming through airports, changes in climates, exposure to dust etc. The best way to avoid the flu is just through basic care and hygiene. Wash your hands as often as possible and if you develop symptoms, come and see us at Paradise Medical, get some meds and then be prepared to stay home and see it through.

healthinsureCosta Rica provides citizens and permanent residents levels of health unparallelled anywhere on Latin America. However, if you’re neither a citizen or resident and you get sick or injured you have two options – either fall back on the health insurance policy you wisely invested in prior to your trip, or be prepared for the kind of expenditure that will potentially leave your bank balance in tatters.

ATVNosara is renowned for physical, outdoor activities – surfing, ATVs, horseriding – which although fun can and do lead to heavy injuries” says Dr Guttierez. “I’ve overseen people being taken out on helicopters at night with emergency doctors on board which runs into tens of thousands of dollars. Even though that kind of situation is rare, it’s often the case that ambulances have to take tourists to the nearest hospital in Nicoya. Although the facilities in Nicoya hospital are generally good, there are certain injuries they aren’t equipped to deal with. For instance there is no neurosurgery unit , MRI or catscan facilities at Nicoya, so depending on your injury, you may then have to be transferred to Liberia or San Jose, and it gets extremely expensive. It seems that in the excitement of planning a vacation people think that nothing can possibly go wrong and it’s amazing how many people come to me in need of care with no medical travel insurance.

Hopefully the following information won’t be necessary, but for more information on the services available at Paradise Medical services call 2682-1212. For emergencies call either 8865-7892 or 8823-1355



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