Preserve your health during the trip

Sources: Information based mainly on Country Watch, Inc. and Center for Disease Control and Prevention Link
Own elaboration.

Thailand is a tropical country and if you are not adapted to this environment, you should be careful to minimize the risks.

» To begin with, for all travellers, pay close attention to all the information you collect about food and water consumption, as well as the protection against mosquito bites. These are the principal vectors in the transmission of diseases.
Also strengthen healthy habits such as washing hands before eating, wearing sunglasses and staying well hydrated.

» Secondly. In particular, you must take into account your personal circumstances such as your age, the itinerary and the activities planned. The more or less clear colour of your skin, possible allergies or activities in the jungle, for example, may require specific cautions.

» It is also essential to travel comfortably, and that means different ways of doing so. Some people feel more comfortable with the highest degree of protection possible, both with preventive measures and on the ground, while others prefer to be more flexible.
Many measures are optional, so you should decide about them, but always after obtaining reliable information and advice from sanitary experts.

» Although it is infrequent if you find yourself in a situation that you do not see clear, with a taxi driver, with a policeman, with someone who approaches you. Avoid confrontation, pay what you owe and go.
Keep your embassy’s emergency phone handy, just in case.

» And, finally, remember that when you really have to be attentive, prudent, avoid alcohol and know the rules and local uses, is when you move by car, motorbike or any other means of transport.

Health information

» What is really important is to have the right information to make the best decisions.

» Visit the doctor or the Health authority at least 4-6 weeks before the start of the trip so that the vaccines that can be administered to take effect.

To enter the country, only a yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory if you come from some countries of Central/South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Detailed countries here Link. There is no risk of yellow fever in Southeast Asia.

» If for health reasons any of the medications you take contains or may contain any components that may be considered narcotic, it must be accompanied by the corresponding medical prescription that justifies its use.

» Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers.

» Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis and other diseases are spread by mosquitoes, which also happens in this region.

» Travelers’ diarrhoea can be caused by viruses, bacterias or parasites, which are found throughout the region and can contaminate food or water.

» Infections may cause diarrhoea and vomiting [E.coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites], fever [typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis], or liver damage [hepatitis]. Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

List of possible vaccines.

» Malaria is a preventable infection that can be fatal if left untreated. Prevent disease by taking prescription antimalarial drugs and protecting yourself against mosquito bites.
Malaria risk in this region exists all year in some areas.

» Swimming in freshwater (except in well-chlorinated pools) in certain areas of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Thailand could lead to schistosomiasis infection.

» Some vaccines are only advisable in special cases, in which it is necessary to assess the characteristics and duration of the trip, the sanitary conditions of the country of destination, the age and the clinical situation of the traveler individually.

» Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.

What you need to bring

» Long-sleeved shirt and long pants to wear while outside whenever possible, to prevent illnesses carried by insects.

» Insect repellent containing DEET (diethyl-methyl toluamide), in 30-35% strength for adults and 6-10% for children.

» Antidiarrheal medicine to take if you have diarrhoea.

» Iodine tablets and water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available.

» Sunblock, sunglasses and a hat.

» Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription.

It’s easy to find open pharmacies in large and medium-sized towns of Thailand, so knowing the active principle of the medicines will be possible to buy them without any problem, except if they require a medical prescription.

To stay healthy

» Wash hands often with soap and water.

» Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes.

» Take precautions when eating food purchased from street vendors and be aware of the risk.

» If you visit an area where there is a risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed (See your doctor for a prescription.)

» Protect yourself from insects by remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied sparingly at 4-hour intervals), and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk through dawn.

» To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.

» Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

» Be very careful when handling animals (including monkeys, dogs and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases such as rabies and plague.

After returning home

If you have visited an area where there is a risk for malaria, continue taking your malaria medication weekly for four weeks after you leave the area.

If you become ill after travel, even as long as a year after your trip, tell your doctor the areas you have visited.

Article Name
Preserve your health during the trip
Information, advice and links of interest to help you to preserve health on your trip to Thailand.
Publisher Name
Manuel Francisco Jalón

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