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Health & Safety in Niue

No, there is no malaria in Niue or other tropical diseases. Maybe due the small number of population, malaria mosquitoes decided to bite elsewhere and leave tourists alone. There are mosquitoes of course, and they are as friendly as the locals, but a good repellent will bring back your peace of mind. There are flies too. They like the legs, not the mouth, eyes, or the ears, like Australian flies prefer. Depending on the time of the year you'll find more or less of these creatures whose only function in life is to irritate us.

The Lord Liverpool Hospital, was destroyed during Cyclone Heta but a new one was has just been finished. We met an older lady who twisted her arm and went to treat it in the hospital. We've never a person so happy to be coming back from an injury. She said the visit to the hospital was the highlight of her trip to Niue (go figure). She also was impressed that the hospital was sparkling clean, well equipped and beautiful, and the staff treated her like a queen.

While there, we also knew about a case about a young lady who suffered a  motorcycle (or scooter) accident. She was in a very serious condition and had to be transferred to Auckland hospital. Someone told us her family had to pay something around NZ$ 50.000 for an Air Ambulance to go to Niue and pick her up (with doctor and nurse onboard). So, I am writing about this case to alert people about two things: The first one is that the Hospital in Niue is good but it has its limitations. The second point is that a comprehensive travel insurance that WILL pay your repatriation and the air ambulance in case something bad happens, is very important. Remember that there is only one flight per week out of Niue, and severe cases must be treated elsewhere. If you are taking prescribed medicines make sure you take them with you.

Note: Insurance Companies do NOT insure cars in Niue, so make sure your travel insurance covers the car you will rent over there. (there is a maximum one can be charged by the rental companies in case of total loss - read your contract).

Dangers on land: As said before, there are no poisonous animals in Nuie, but the Island is made of corals with caves, 20-30 meters cliffs, and steep chasm. In some tracks such as to Talava Arches (photo) you literally have to walk on sharp corals. A fall in one of these places can lead to serious injuries. It is a good idea to carry a small first aid kit when exploring the Island. I would suggest the following items: a small box of "Band Aids", a Bandage, Peroxide of any disinfectant liquid or paste, iodine, some gaze, and a couple of pain killers. Pack these items together in a compact enclosure and take with you. Walking boots or tennis shoes is a must due sharp corals on the trails. 

 Dangers in the sea:  Sea snakes can be deadly but they are not aggressive and will bite only if provoked. There is a mith that sea snakes can't bite humans but this is not true. In reality they are very curious animals and one may come closer to play with you. If you don't hold the animal nothing will happen. The reef flats have sharp corals and holes on it. Reef shoes are more than indicated to explore the reef flats. Also we discovered they do very well inside wet caves too. If exploring the reefs on the North, East, or South side of the Island, pay special attention to the tide and waves. They can block your way back very quickly and you will need to mutate into Spiderman to climb up the cliff. Watch out also for rips and currents when snorkelling in special at Avatele Beach, where a canal between the corals flows like a river during the outgoing tide.

Else, Niue is a very safe place with almost no existent crime, but is not recommended for very young kids or very old people (unless you're not planning to adventure yourselves in the tracks). Take a hat, plenty of sun block and insect repellent. Yes, a walking stick is of great help. There is no doubt that you'll have a fantastic and safe time in Niue. 

In the caves there are some slippery parts that requires caution

On the reef flats the income tide and waves can take you by surprise

Sea snakes are very poisonous but they don't do anything to you except if you grab it.  In Avatele Beach the canal between the coral reefs can run like a river during the outgoing tide. If caught, swim to the right and walk back over the reef

 

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