1. Smoking and drinking can have negative health consequences. If you or anyone you know is seeking help to quit smoking, visit an outreach caseworker at any NDACC office countrywide to receive guidance. Here are some more resources: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/index.html.
2. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables over fried, oily foods high in sugar and salt. You can buy these at local grocery stores or reach out to organizations addressing food insecurity such as: https://foodforthepoor.org/our-work/where-we-serve/belize/fast-facts/.
3. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Here is a resource with more information: https://belizemedical.com/physical-activity/.
4. Make sure to stay up-to-date on vaccines, especially for children. Go to your local hospital or visit https://www.myvaccine.bz/about-vaccines/.
5. COMMUNICABLE DISEASES:
Avoid swallowing water from streams, ponds, and lakes (see Giardiasis).
Taeniasis & Cysticercosis
Taeniasis can present as a mild or no-symptom intestinal infection after eating undercooked pork products (see Taeniasis).
Cysticercosis, a more serious infection of muscle, brain, or other areas, is caused by the ingestion of tapeworm eggs. Consuming food, including raw or undercooked vegetables, contaminated with eggs can cause cysticercosis (see Cysticercosis).
Tap water is not drinkable, even in the capital cities. There are many options for treating water, including boiling, filtration (for example, using ceramic water filters), chlorination, and disinfection using ultraviolet light (see Food & Water Precautions).
Avoid eating unpasteurized dairy products (particularly soft or fresh cheeses) and raw or undercooked meat or fish. Leafy green or raw vegetables should be thoroughly washed and disinfected or cooked.
Typhoid fever can be life-threatening, although appropriate and timely management usually prevents serious disease (see Typhoid & Paratyphoid Fever).
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) & HIV
Reduce the risk of HIV and other STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis, by avoiding injection drug use and unprotected sex. You can buy high-quality condoms at pharmacies.
Soil- & Waterborne Infections
Cutaneous Larva Migrans
Cutaneous larva migrans, a skin eruption associated with animal hookworm (see Cutaneous Larva Migrans and Dermatologic Conditions), is associated with walking on beaches or warm soil. Use footwear and avoid direct skin contact with soil and sand.
Leptospirosis (see Leptospirosis) is a bacterial disease that can affect humans and animals. Avoid swimming or wading in water (particularly flood waters) potentially contaminated with animal urine and use protective footwear or clothing during work or recreation.
Chikungunya, Dengue & Zika
Chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses are all transmitted in Belize. Those visiting coastal or low-lying areas and beaches are at increased risk. Because of the risk for birth defects in infants born to mothers with Zika during pregnancy, you should read about the most recent CDC recommendations and use mosquito-avoidance behaviors.
Dengue (see Dengue) is endemic to coastal and jungle areas. Take steps to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and staying in places with window screens or air-conditioning (see Mosquitoes, Ticks & Other Arthropods).
The risk for infection is greater among people with outdoor exposure (e.g., ecology workers). People can reduce their risk for sand fly bites by avoiding outdoor activities at night, wearing protective clothing, applying insect repellent, and sleeping in air-conditioned or well-screened areas (see Cutaneous Leishmaniasis).
Rickettsia-infected ticks have been found in several districts suggesting infection risk to humans. Avoid flea and tick bites, both indoors and outdoors (see Mosquitoes, Ticks & Other Arthropods).