Tomorrow I am off to Cuba with my wife Gayle, my children Benjamin and Ros, and their two lovely kids, Jonah, 4, and Noah, 2. We will be in Cayo Coco at the same Pestana resort we visited last year with a different set of kids.
So, from the travel medicine perspective, we are all protected against hepatitis A, the kids not yet B. No Dukoral for the family – just don’t feel that it is that effective or worthwhile or pleasant to take or cheap! I think Health Canada feels the same way.
I have packed some oral rehydration salts in case the kids get diarrhea, and a short course of Zithromax, powder and pills, in case someone gets a really bad case of the runs. In my mind, that might mean going to the washroom every 20 minutes all day, diarrhea associated with fever and chills, and diarrhea just not getting better after a day or two. On a very brief trip, I might be more prone to use the antibiotic, even just for a day, as there isn’t much time built into a seven day holiday for rest and rehab. You are welcome to unlimited probiotics! Small amounts of Imodium are also an option for mild diarrhea.
What else? Tylenol, sunscreen, insect repellent, Gravol, Polysporin, books, cashews, baby powder, puzzles, a hat, sunglasses and a passport.
Zika, dengue fever, chikungunya and even malaria are likely all a threat in Cuba. We will apply our DEET containing repellent, probably less than religiously. No more children or grandchildren on the horizon from this group, so the precautions regarding future pregnancy are not an issue. There is a new non-DEET based repellent called Icardin, or Picardin. It is now available at Mountain Equipment Coop, in Canada, for the less DEET-inclined.
These days, I tend to worry more about accidents and injuries in my patients than exotic infectious diseases. We will watch our steps, as I would advise you to do as well.
I have outgrown the need to shop for others on my vacations. My closet is full of colorful clothing from Burkina Faso and pillow covers from Rajasthan that have gone unwanted. But I do have a friend in need of some Cuban cigars. Nothing better than a trip with a mission!