Most travellers to Cuba do not have to worry about any major health issues.
For more detailed Country Health Advice on Cuba please go to the IAMAT website (International Association for Medical Advice for Travellers).
Here are some basic do’s and don’ts for a healthy trip to Cuba:
- Drink boiled or disinfected water (treated with a filter and halogens, or ultraviolet light). Carbonated drinks and bottled water from a trusted source are also safe. Watch for tampered seals or bottled tap water.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with water and soap, especially before handling food. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Eat well cooked foods while they’re hot and thick skinned fruit that you can peel yourself, such as oranges and bananas. Use the mantra: Boil It, Cook It, Peel It or Forget It!
- Protect yourself from the sun using sunscreen, wear UV-protecting sunglasses and a hat, and stay in shaded areas as much as possible.
- When wearing sunscreen and insect repellent at the same time, apply sunscreen first then apply repellent on top. Products that combine sunscreen and repellent are not as effective. Be aware that repellents containing DEET can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen so you may have to reapply both products more often.
- Use anti-mosquito measures, including repellents containing 20%-30% DEET or 20% Picardin. If you’re going to an area with malaria, don’t forget to use a mosquito bed net.
- Wear seat belts in vehicles and a helmet when riding a bicycle, moped, or motorcycle.
- Stay fit and well rested.
- Practice safe sex at all times.
- Use ice cubes in drinks unless you are sure that the water has been disinfected.
- Consume unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
- Eat raw seafood or large fish.
- Eat food from street vendors whose stalls seem dirty or that don’t practice proper food handling and good hand hygiene. If you are going to eat street food, make sure it’s well cooked and hot.
- Feed, pet, or approach animals, especially monkeys, feral dogs, or cats.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following:
- High fever (greater than 38.9°C / 102°F) lasting more than 2-3 days accompanied by shaking chills, headaches, stiff neck, abdominal pain, muscle and joint pain, skin rash, yellow skin or eyes, or bloody diarrhea.
- Breathing difficulties and / or numbness and tingling in the extremities and around the mouth.
- Animal bites from dogs, monkeys, bats, and other potentially rabid animals. Thoroughly clean with water and soap, rinse with disinfectant, and seek immediate medical attention.
- Injuries from motor vehicle accidents and trauma such as falling, tripping, slipping, and near-drowning.
After Your Trip
Post-trip follow-up is overlooked by many travellers, but it could prevent future health complications and even save your life.
Seek medical attention if you experience the following symptoms upon your return. Don’t forget to tell your health practitioner that you’ve travelled abroad.
- High fever (greater than 38.9°C / 102°F) – up to 3 months after coming home – accompanied by shaking chills, headaches, stiff neck, abdominal pain, muscle and joint pain, skin rash, yellow skin or eyes, or bloody diarrhea.
- Diarrhea and digestive problems that last more than 1 week.
- Persistent cough and shortness of breath.
- Swollen glands or skin lesions that expand and are painful.
- If you were bitten by an animal, report it to your health care provider even if you received treatment abroad in case further medical attention is recommended.