vietnam travel health Vietnam is a beautiful and diverse country that attracts millions of visitors every year. It offers stunning landscapes, rich culture, delicious cuisine and friendly people. But like any destination, it also has some health risks and challenges that travelers should be aware of and prepare for. Here are some tips on how to stay healthy and safe during your trip to Vietnam.
Get the Right Vaccines and Medicines Before You Go vietnam travel health
One of the most important steps to protect your health when traveling to Vietnam is to get the right vaccines and medicines before you go. Depending on your itinerary, activities and personal health status, you may need some or all of the following:
- Routine vaccines: These are the vaccines that you should get regularly, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), chickenpox (varicella), polio, flu (influenza) and shingles. Make sure you are up-to-date on all of them before your trip1. vietnam travel health
- COVID-19 vaccine: All eligible travelers should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling to Vietnam. This will reduce your risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to others. You should also follow the local COVID-19 regulations, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and hand hygiene2. vietnam travel health
- Hepatitis A vaccine: This vaccine protects you from hepatitis A, a liver infection that can be spread through contaminated food or water. It is recommended for all travelers to Vietnam, regardless of their age or length of stay12. vietnam travel health
- Hepatitis B vaccine: This vaccine protects you from hepatitis B, a liver infection that can be spread through sexual contact, blood transfusions or sharing needles. It is recommended for travelers who may have sex with new partners, get tattoos or piercings, or have medical procedures in Vietnam12. vietnam travel health
- Japanese encephalitis vaccine: This vaccine protects you from Japanese encephalitis, a brain infection that can be spread by mosquito bites. It is recommended for travelers who plan to spend a long time (more than a month) or do outdoor activities (such as hiking, camping or staying in rural areas) in areas with Japanese encephalitis risk in Vietnam12. vietnam travel health
- Typhoid vaccine: This vaccine protects you from typhoid, a bacterial infection that can cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is recommended for travelers who may eat or drink outside of major restaurants and hotels in Vietnam12.
- Rabies vaccine: This vaccine protects you from rabies, a deadly virus that can be spread by animal bites or scratches. It is recommended for travelers who may have close contact with animals, such as wildlife enthusiasts, veterinarians or animal rescuers in Vietnam12.
- Malaria pills: These are medicines that prevent or treat malaria, a parasitic infection that can cause fever, chills and headache. It is transmitted by mosquito bites. Malaria is not common in most parts of Vietnam, but it may be present in some rural and mountainous areas, especially near the borders with Cambodia, Laos and China. You should check the malaria map for Vietnam and consult your doctor about whether you need malaria pills for your trip12. vietnam travel health
You should visit your doctor or a travel health clinic at least 8 weeks before your trip to get the vaccines and medicines you need. You should also bring a copy of your prescriptions and a letter from your doctor explaining your medical conditions and medications in case you need to see a doctor in Vietnam12.
Eat and Drink Safely in Vietnam
Another way to protect your health when traveling to Vietnam is to eat and drink safely. Unhygienic food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases, such as typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera. To reduce your risk, you should follow these tips:
- Drink only bottled, boiled or treated water. Avoid tap water, ice cubes, fountain drinks and unpasteurized milk. You can use a water filter, purifier or sterilizer to make tap water safe to drink12.
- Eat only cooked and hot food. Avoid raw or undercooked meat, seafood, eggs and dairy products. Peel and wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Avoid salads, buffets, street food and food from vendors without proper hygiene12.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating and after using the toilet. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer12.
- Carry oral rehydration salts (ORS) and anti-diarrheal medicine with you in case you get diarrhea. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Seek medical attention if you have severe or bloody diarrhea, fever, dehydration or signs of infection12. vietnam travel health
Avoid Insect Bites and Animal Bites in Vietnam
Insects and animals can also pose a threat to your health when traveling to Vietnam. They can transmit diseases such as dengue, Zika, Japanese encephalitis, malaria and rabies. To avoid insect bites and animal bites, you should follow these tips:
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on your exposed skin and clothing. Reapply as directed on the label. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months or products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus on children younger than 3 years12. vietnam travel health
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors. Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. You can also treat your clothing and gear with permethrin, a chemical that kills insects on contact12.
- Sleep under a mosquito net that covers your bed or tent. Make sure the net has no holes and is tucked under the mattress or floor. You can also use an air conditioner or a fan to keep mosquitoes away12.
- Avoid contact with animals, especially dogs, cats, monkeys, bats and rodents. Do not touch, feed or play with them. Do not approach or provoke them. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. You may need a rabies vaccine or immunoglobulin injection to prevent rabies infection12. vietnam travel health
Be Prepared for Other Health Risks and Emergencies in Vietnam
Besides the common health risks mentioned above, there are some other health risks and emergencies that you should be prepared for when traveling to Vietnam. These include:
- Air pollution: The air quality in some cities and industrial areas in Vietnam can be poor, especially during the dry season (November to April). This can cause respiratory problems, eye irritation and allergies. You should check the air quality index (AQI) for your destination and avoid outdoor activities when the AQI is high. You should also wear a mask that filters out fine particles, such as an N95 or N99 mask12. vietnam travel health
- Road accidents: The traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic, crowded and unpredictable. Road accidents are common and can be fatal. You should avoid driving or riding a motorbike unless you are experienced and have a valid license and insurance. You should also wear a helmet, follow the traffic rules and be alert at all times. If you are a pedestrian, you should cross the road carefully and use designated crossings or bridges when possible12.
- Crime and scams: Vietnam is generally a safe country, but crime and scams can happen, especially in tourist areas. You should be careful of pickpockets, bag snatchers, fake taxis, overcharging, counterfeit money and goods, and other frauds. You should also avoid political demonstrations, gambling, drugs and prostitution. You should keep your valuables in a safe place, carry copies of your important documents, use reputable services and report any incidents to the local police12. vietnam travel health
- Natural disasters: Vietnam is prone to natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis. These can cause damage, disruption and casualties. You should check the weather forecast for your destination and avoid traveling during the rainy season (May to October) or the typhoon season (July to November). You should also follow the advice of the local authorities and have an emergency plan in case of a disaster12. vietnam travel health
Vietnam is a wonderful country that will give you an unforgettable experience. But to enjoy it fully, you need to take care of your health and safety. By getting the right vaccines and medicines, eating and drinking safely, avoiding insect bites and animal bites, and being prepared for other health risks and emergencies, you will have a healthy and safe trip to Vietnam. vietnam travel health