Antigua and Barbuda is still a relatively crime free country, although of course normal safety measures should be adhered to:
- Don’t walk in dark unfamiliar areas at night
- If you hire a car do not leave your possessions on display
- If you are at the beach generally they are safe but petty theft has been known so do not leave valuables on the beach while you are in the water – ask someone nearby to keep watch over your things.
- Don’t leave valuables on hotel or villa balconies.
DEHYDRATION & HEAT EXHAUSTION
On arrival to the island it is wise to considerably increase your intake of water and non-alcoholic fluids. If you are thirsty this is a signal that your body is already dehydrated. The weather is very deceptive, especially as there is often a cooling breeze from the sea and this can cause you to think it is not as hot as it really is.
The tap water on the island is relatively safe and if often used for ice cubes. That being said it can still cause upset stomachs due to the difference in composition to the water you would normally drink. It is therefore best to drink bottled mineral or purified water to guard against unnecessary illness while on vacation. Drinking ice cold water can cause stomach upsets so where possible it is best to skip the ice, or even wait until your water has warmed up before drinking it.
If you want to run or walk while vacationing in Antigua be sure to take water with you as the heat will cause you to perspire much more quickly than normal. If you intend to run for long distances ensure you start out as early as possible in the morning or wait until nearer sundown – 4pm in the winter, 5pm in the summer until setting out for your daily constitutional. You will need to vastly increase your normal water intake to ensure that you do not become dehydrated.
Whatever the time of day, ensure that when leaving your accommodation that you are protected with a high U.V factor sun cream. The suns rays are extremely harmful and exposure to them without adequate protection is risking your own long term health. Be also particularly careful with children – ensuring that you re-apply not only your own but their sun creams throughout the day, especially after having been in the sea or swimming pool. To ensure your sun creams protection factor is optimised, apply 20 minutes before exposure to the sun – otherwise you may be burnt.
Be particularly careful on hazy or cloudy days – this does not reduce the ability of the sun to burn, and in fact can be worse as people tend to be less vigilant on cloudy days. Finally if you are spending a day on the water on a tour ensure you liberally re-apply cream throughout the day and try to sit in the shade for part if not all of the tour. The cooling effect of the breeze can lull you in to a false sense of security that it is not hot. Just wait for the boat to stop and you soon find out how warm it is! It makes good sense to wear a hat to reduce the possibility of heat exhaustion.
Heatstroke is very easy to get – you feel hot, feel dizzy, feverish, flushed and have a head ache. If you have any of these symptoms seek medical advice.
There are three main culprits – mosquito’s, sand flies and fire ants which cause problems. The mosquito’s are most prevalent at sunrise and sunset and into the evening, as are sand flies, and fire ants are around all day and night. The best ways to avoid problems are as follows:
- Use a good mosquito repellent with DEET, the local brand is OFF and is readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies island wide.
- Alternatively buy any fragrance free body crème and add a few drops of citronella oil to it – shake well and apply. You can also add it to your sun tan lotion. This is a good natural repellent.
- Be particularly vigilant if it has been raining excessively – this is perfect conditions for mosquito’s to increase their number!
- While in your accommodation refrain from leaving doors and windows open, especially early morning and late afternoon into evening.
- When leaving the room for dinner close all the doors and windows and spray liberally with an insect repellent. Local brands available are Baygon and BOP. They don’t smell good but if you spray them before leaving the room for a few hours most of the odour will have dissipated on your return.
- Plug in repellent or mosquito coils can also be used in room.
- Rooms with air conditioning tend to have less problems as you need to keep doors and windows sealed to get the benefit of air conditioning. Those with fans however are also excellent – generally a fan switched on will stop them landing on you.
- If you are bitten ensure that you bring a cream, lotion or spray with you to stop the itching. You can also buy other gadgets to stop the itch once bitten as you inevitably will be while on holiday. Try not to scratch them as this can cause infection.
- For sand flies – ensure that if you are on the beach in the late afternoon or are taking a moonlit stroll along a beach that you have applied your mosquito repellent– the same repellents will work well as those for mosquito’s.
- Fire ants can be found anywhere and often are only discovered when you feel a burning itch on your foot. Just be aware when putting your feet on the ground barefoot, or if lying directly on the sand with a towel.