The best precautions you can take against malaria are to use Deet (especially at dawn and dusk—the worst periods for mosquitoes), bed nets impregnated with permethrin (make sure they’re tucked into your mattress), and screened rooms; burn mosquito coils; stay in air-conditioned or breezy rooms; and cover up arms and legs early in the morning and in the evening if you are outside when mosquitoes are most active. You may ask for chloroquine pills, but it’s best not to take them over an extended period of time. Sprinkling citronella essence of oil also seems to deter mosquitoes. Citronella insect repellent balm is made in Toledo by Doctors Mascia and Tsang and is available locally. Empty any containers of stagnant water or add a few drops of oil, as such conditions are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Getting vaccinations and medications, such as anti-malarials like chloroquine pills for malaria and dengue fever, are a personal choice. The only exception to this is that you must get the vaccination for yellow fever if you are coming from a part of the world where it is a problem, like Africa or South America. If you have traveled to those areas, bring your vaccination certificate as proof that you received the vaccine.
Recommended vaccines are hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) if you didn’t have it as a child, and tetanus/diphtheria.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Belize.