Travelling in Thailand: Your Health

If you’re travelling to Thailand this year, no doubt you will be looking forward to the beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes. But beware that Thailand has its own hidden health risks, such as malaria and dengue fever, which could really spoil your Thai experience.

To determine what travel vaccines you may need, it is always good to seek advice from your GP before you travel, or check with the Fit For Travel website. Your GP can give you the best advice, as they will already have your vaccination and immunisation history to hand.

Most travellers find they can go to Thailand without the need to have booster immunisations for diseases that they have already received in Britain – for example MMR, or meningitis. But, the NHS does advise a selection of vaccines including Tetanus and Hepatitis A. It also asks travellers to consider typhoid, diphtheria, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis B and cholera vaccinations.

Thailand also is host to a range of mosquito-bourne diseases that cannot be vaccinated against, the most serious being malaria and dengue fever. It is essential to be aware of these diseases and the risk they pose to holidaymakers.

For this reason, when travelling to Thailand you should ask your GP or chemist if you should take antimalarial tablets with you. They should also be able to provide information about how you can prevent infection. Travellers are most at risk in forested or rural areas. Symptoms can include fever, shivering, vomiting and convulsions.

As mentioned, dengue fever is also contracted through mosquito bites. The illness is usually less severe than malaria, but the effects can still be very serious. Symptoms include a very high fever, a red flush or rash all over the body and nausea.  Headaches and muscle pain can also be experienced.

When you are travelling in Thailand you should try to follow these two fundamentals:

  • Always be extremely vigilant about insect bites, no matter how low the risk of disease may be
  • Always choose bottled water as Thailand is also host to a range of water-borne diseases that can cause very upset stomachs and traveller’s diarrhoea.

Being aware of the risks is the first step to staying healthy on your travels. Stay safe, and have fun!

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