To make sure you avoid any panics, it is advised that you go to your local clinic or doctor and discuss the medical requirements needed before you leave for Vietnam. Expats and travelers should make sure that all appropriate vaccinations and medicines are taken care of before departure to prevent you from contracting a disease within the first few months of your stay.
Here is a list of some diseases present in Vietnam and suggestions how to prevent them. Be aware that this is not an extensive list and you should still consult a specialist for up-to-date requirements.
- Malaria - Medication is especially important for rural area stays. There isn’t much of a problem in large cities such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
- Hepatitis A / Hepatitis B - Shots are recommended for all travellers, although present mainly in the countryside where hygiene standards are often not comparable to the city.
- Typhoid - Recommended for all travellers as to not have to restrict their eating and drinking to major city restaurants.
- Japanese encephalitis - Prevention recommended especially for rural areas. A series of injections is given four weeks before departure.
- Rabies - Recommended for those likely to spend a lot of time outdoors or likely to come into contact with potentially infected animals. A series of injections is given four weeks before departure.
- Tetanus / diphtheria - A booster is recommended for those who have not been vaccinated in the last ten years.
- Yellow fever - Required for those arriving from countries where yellow fever is present.
- Dengue fever - There is no vaccine or medicine available. The Aedes mosquito causes dengue fever, so to avoid contracting it, take the regular precautions (repellents, netting, etc.) to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Medicine to take with you
If you are travelling to rural areas that are prone to malaria, make sure that you take anti-malarial medicine, consult your doctor before leaving so that they can prescribe it to you. Wear long-sleeved tops and repellent, and sleep in well screened rooms with nets on the windows.
You should make sure that you wash your hands often, especially before eating.
Only drink bottled water and be careful not to take ice in your drinks, as it will be made from tap water. Avoid any food from street vendors and any dairy products that haven’t been pasteurised. Bring medicine to counter diarrhea, which can usually can be bought over-the-counter.
If you are on prescription medication, take enough for a substantial amount of time, or at least until you can sort out a prescription with a doctor in Vietnam.
It is also advised that you take a first-aid kit, with enough supplies for at least the first few weeks of your stay.