Vaccines and other health measures for traveling to Southeast Asia

As important as visas, vaccines are a key bullet point in your travel tips before travelling to Southeast Asia.
Cities and towns which are unusual to us, food that we have never eaten before… carries who knows what kind of things. The important thing is not to get paranoid and enjoy the journey but taking precaution.

When you get to some SEA countries you will probably be asked for your yellow fever certificate: a must if you come from live/travelled South America or Africa during the last month before the travel date.
This is a preventive measure to avoid the yellow fever to spread.

Before travelling, have a check at your doctor and in a exotic destinations specialist. Depending on your physical condition both of them will advice you, what to eat or not, how to handle high temperatures, mosquitoes/insects, etc.
Get ready to receive the longest prescription in your life! Vaccines, medication, repelent sprays, sunscreen, and it goes on and on.

They will write down the following:

Tetanus shot: MUST! Prevents tetanus to infect you after a cut, usually with some rusty metal. To be honest, this may happen anywhere in the world… it is important to take it seriously.

Japanese encephalitis: Well.. i didn’t got this one. Rare disease transmitted by mosquitoes over the rice fields, normally it bites at night time.

Typhoid fever: MUST! It’s transmitted through water and food… so…. You know you have to have it! Water/food is a thing in SEA, better to prevent!

Polio: Probably you already had this one while being a toddler. Your doctor will give you the advice to have it again or not. Anyways, ask!

A and B Hepatitis: MUST! Sure you have it, if your vaccination calendar is complete.

Rage: It is widely recommended due to the lots of dogs and monkeys around! I didn’t receive it but had to be really aware of the animals, never messing or playing with them. Eyes open!

Get your shots with time! They may need some weeks before being 100% effective. Avoid having all of them in a short period just before your trip!

Dengue y malaria: Unfortunately there’s no immunization for dengue or malaria.
There’s a malaria preventive treatment consisting in daily pills. You should start getting them a week before your trip and everyday during the journey. In my experience, I decided not be exposed to the pills’ secondary effects for that long time and took my chances without them. Your choice!

Both of them are transmitted by mosquito bites! In consequence, use tons of mosquitoe repelent to avoid getting bit… however you will find a wide range of repelents, with Deet, without, Deet 5%, 10%, 25%, 90%!
Also cintronella oil does the trick!

BEWARE: More than 25% Deet can be harsh (it burns!!) if you have a sensible skin. I used Off 25% and it worked perfect!

Besides all of the above, I carry with me a tiny purse with a basic first aid kit and medication like ibuprofen, paracetamol, stomachache ones, creams for burns… and sunscreen of course!

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