How to Stay Healthy While Living in South America

by David Tompkins

Moving to Peru

Tips on how expats can stay healthy while living in South America

Just like it is with every other continent, South America has lots of hidden gems for all to explore. It has been reported that more than 200,000 expats from the United States alone living in South America at present. Most of them have traveled to the continent to fulfill their work-related obligations, while a few others have settled there to live their life peacefully in the middle of vibrant and picturesque landscapes. Argentina and Brazil are among the most popular expatriate destinations within the continent. While South America is an amazing continent to be in, tourists, global nomads and expats need to keep certain things in mind. For instance, many countries in South America have substandard healthcare services. Regardless, as a traveler or an expat, no matter where you are in South America, whether it’s a developed country or not, you need to give the highest importance to staying healthy. And for that, you need to ideally plan everything well in advance.

As an expat, here are some tips on how you can ensure that your travel and stay throughout South America is as pleasant as you could ever want it to be:

  • Water Check:

Unlike most of the western countries, tap water is not drinkable in South America. That could come as a surprise for many, even in the biggest of cities and nicest of hotels, but that’s how it is. You could probably use that water to brush your teeth (Without swallowing), but that’s the limit. For drinking, you could go with water taken from a proper water purifier. Bottled water is another means to get your hands on drinkable water in South America, though always going for bottled water could cost you big. If you are at a hotel, check with the front desk to see if the water is safe to drink.

  • Peel Before You Deal:

Fruits and vegetables sold in the open markets and streets of South America look amazing from a distance. However, you must never go with how great they look. Always peel a bit off a few to see if they are just as fresh and raw as they look from the outside or not. You may feel glad doing just that the next time you go shopping for them on the streets. Note that you should be aware of your safety when living in South America.

  • Keep the Bacteria in Check:

Bacteria based infections can be easy to catch in some South American nations – including from the food you eat, the utensils you used, the water you drink, or even the handshake you had with someone. And boy they spread out fast! To begin with, keep a sanitizer handy with you all the time. Also, consume yogurt, which can sometimes manage bad bacteria inside your body in no time.

  • Controlling the Mosquito Menace:

That’s right. Mosquitoes are a menace in many South American countries & Zika remains a concern. The repellents do a great job of keeping mosquitoes at bay, but they can’t do it all themselves, especially when you are traveling. Besides using repellents at home and creams when you step out, go with long sleeve shirts and pants when you walk out. Hats can be another add-on to your style quotient when you step out.

  • Stay Away from Too Much Sun:

This you must already know, for it’s the same everywhere. Staying away from too much sun is necessary if you don’t want to feel dehydrated or sunburnt. Keep that tube of sun-block cream handy with you if the sun’s out, and don’t forget to wear those sunglasses too. You know the drill.

  • Get Your Sleep:

Sleep is very important to maintain a healthy body. You need to get enough of that every night without fail if you want to get up the next day feeling all energized. You miss that one day and you would know what it means to have enough sleeping hours in the first place.

  • Get Some Exercise:

Assuming the city or area you are living in is safe, you should definitely get out and walk or run. You can even join a gym or your building or office may offer some exercise facilities. Exercise can improve your mental and physical health.

South America

If you are in South America as an expat, you must also remember to get yourself (and your family if they have come along) a good international health insurance plan. While healthcare is great in most of the South American countries, you need to be sure that you get the best of treatment and expenses never come in the way of achieving that. You must also prefer to go with popular international insurance companies since their plans are available worldwide and even provide cover when you are traveling elsewhere.

Do your homework well before moving to South America, and you would be making memories for a lifetime in no time.

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