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Vietnam Travel Health

h information. Here, we’ve compiled some handy tips and advice about how to get prepared for your trip to help ensure that you stay healthy during your travels.

Though we have taken the greatest care to make sure that the information on this page is accurate, it is your responsibility to visit your local GP, travel doctor or medical facility at least six weeks before you depart for full Vietnam travel health information.
Vaccination suggestions for Vietnam…

DTP: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio. This combined vaccination is recommended for almost everywhere outside Europe.The vaccination lasts for 10 years.
Hepatitis A: You can choose either short-term or long-term protection; the long-term version lasts 10 years.
Typhoid: This vaccination is advised by most health organisation, if you are planning to stay for longer than 2 weeks in Vietnam. The vaccination provides 3 years’ protection.

Malaria, Dengue Fever and Japanese B Encephalitis

Malaria
Malaria does exist in Vietnam, and although it is not a major problem it is extremely important you seek up-to-date advice from your GP before you travel. The entire coastal region and the flat delta regions (Red River Delta and Mekong Delta) are almost malaria-free, except for the most southerly point of the Mekong Delta to the south of Ca Mau (where we actually do not offer any modules). All provincial capitals are also malaria-free except for Kon Tum. For most of the Vietnam tours that we offer anti-malaria medicine is not necessary.

Because anti-malaria medicine is quite strong, and the fact that there is not a really large risk of malaria in many areas, some travellers do not take any medication. That is the decision of each traveller, and should be based upon the information they have received from the travel doctor.

The best bet is to try and reduce the risk of catching malaria by preventative measures. Keeping your arms, legs and feet covered in the evenings, using bug repellant spray/cream on exposed areas of skin (the best ones contain DEET), and sleeping under a mosquito net where possible.

If during or after your trip you find yourself with flu-like symptoms lasting longer than two days, seek the advice of a doctor immediately, and advise you have recently travelled to Vietnam.

Dengue Fever and Japanese B Encephalitis
Both of these diseases are carried by mosquitoes, use the same precautions as for Malaria. For more information about these diseases, and the status of any outbreaks, you’re advised to seek the advice of a travel doctor.

There is no vaccine against dengue, however, there is for Japanese B encephalitis, which is advised only if you are going to be in Asia for longer than six months.

Before you go…

You are advised to visit your local GP or travel doctor at least six weeks before you depart. They’ll advise you on the necessary vaccinations any other health precautions you may need to take.

If you are currently taking prescription medicines, be sure to take the information leaflet with you to avoid confusion at customs and in case you need additional medication during your Vietnam trip.

If you wear glasses or use contact lenses, it’s a good idea to take a copy of your prescription or a spare pair of glasses/lenses.

Staying healthy in Vietnam

Of course it’s important that you try to maintain a good level of health while you are in travelling in Vietnam. With regards to your Vietnam travel health, it’s important to remain vigilant and, when in doubt, consult a doctor. If you have language problems you can ask our local agents in the larger towns and cities of Vietnam for assistance.

Jet lag
Jet lag is when your biological clock is confused, caused by flying through different time zones. The body has to adjust to the new biorhythm for the first few days after your flight, during which time you can feel tired in the day and awake at night.

Overcoming Jet lag
It’s generally recommended that you drink limited amounts of tea, coffee or alcohol during a flight. Upon arrival don’t demand too much of your body for the first couple of days. It’s also handy to get into the new sleeping pattern as quickly as possible. If possible after you’ve checked in to your accommodation, have a nap for no longer than one hour, then stay awake until your usual bedtime.

Diarrhoea
A change of routine, climate and food (especially spicy) can throw your stomach out of sorts. As long as it is only loose, watery stools and no other symptoms, it’s normally unnecessary to take anything, just take it easy and drink plenty of water small sips at a time. The elderly and children may require some oral rehydration salts, these are dissolved in water and prevent dehydration. Drugs, such as loperamide and diphenoxylate, may be taken if you really have to travel when you have diarrhoea (not suitable for children under two years old). These drugs have the effect of sedating the intestines, which stops stomach cramps and suppresses the diarrhoea, but doesn’t actually cure it. Only use these drugs when you’re on the move and cannot get to the toilet regularly.

Important: If diarrhoea persists for more than 48 hours, AND is accompanied by a headache, vomiting, or blood in the stool OR; you’re taking any other medication at the time, you should contact a doctor.

Diarrhoea prevention
Only consume water and soft drinks from properly closed and sealed bottles or cans. Drinks made with boiled bottled water, such as tea or coffee are also fine. Ice is only trustworthy in the form of manufactured bagged ice, but this is widely available. Fruit juice is safe, but only if no water has been added. Food, especially meat and fish must be cooked properly, so that it is well cooked all the way through.

In Vietnam eating food from street stalls is common, but to prevent illness a good idea is to eat where it’s busy. This usually means that the food is good, and that the turnover means the time between food preparation and consumption is the shortest possible. It’s probably best not to eat meat at the end of the day, as the meat can sometimes have been lying around all day in the heat un-refrigerated.

A few more health tips

Skin care
Always use a high factor sunscreen on exposed skin, even during the rainy season. Snorkelling in a T-shirt is a wise idea as even waterproof sunscreen washes off after a while. If you cut or scratch yourself whilst in the tropics, keep a close eye on them. Clean with disinfectant and keep covered with a plaster during the day. Don’t scratch mosquito bites, they’re infuriating, but it only makes them worse. You can avoid attracting biting insects, by wearing light coloured clothing, especially in the evening. Go easy with strong perfumes, aftershave or deodorant. It you’re prone to skin irritations, wear cotton or linen clothing, and you can help avoid prickly heat by using talcum powder after your morning shower. Wash or disinfect your hands after using the toilet, and don’t bite your nails.

Sunstroke
Sunstroke can be prevented by wearing a hat and sunglasses. Always try and keep a bottle of water with you, especially if you’re out in the wilderness and unlikely to come across drinking water. If you suspect sunstroke (feeling light-headed, headaches), you can prevent it from getting worse by drinking water and finding somewhere in the shade to rest.

When you get home…
After your trip (and this can be months later), pay close attention to your health for a little while. If you contract flu like symptoms, have stomach problems, or experience some unusual symptoms, contact your GP and let them know where you’ve been on your travels.

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