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What Vaccinations do you need for Thailand?

26 Sep
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It is wise to consult a doctor in your home country before travelling to Thailand and Asia but here are the main vaccinations you will need for your trip.

Some countries may offer them for free whilst others may charge so do check. It is a good idea to be prepared a few months before travelling as some vaccines may require more than one visit.

Tetanus
Tetanus is an absolute must-have for all travelers. It is not spread through human contact, but through bacteria in soil, manure and even in dust.

The bacteria can find its way into the body through small cuts or scrapes which are easily got whilst travelling.

Tetanus vaccines are a good idea as it is fairly easy to contract it and it is hard to monitor all of the environmental factors associated with travel. The tetanus vaccine will both protect you and put your mind at ease.  

Get vaccinated anytime before you travel! Tetanus is a good ‘all around’ vaccine that will help protect you in a lot of circumstances.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a debilitating liver disease and is spread through contact with feces, you can be affected if infected people slack on properly washing their hands. You can also get hep A through contaminated water, food and even objects.

Hepatitis A is a pretty standard vaccine - the US has started giving  it in an infant’s first 12 months but travelers will definitely benefit from the added protection.

Your risk of contracting Hep A while traveling to a developing country is actually quite high and includes every part of the world except western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Scandinavia.

The actual vaccine comes in two injections that are given 6 months apart so try to plan for this.

Rabies (Koh Phangan is Rabies Free)
The preventative rabies vaccine is not completely necessary if a traveler is exclusively visiting the major cities in Thailand and in fact Koh Phangan is rabies free (yay!).

However if you plan on trekking, camping or staying in remote areas then a rabies vaccine might be a good idea.

Getting the preventative vaccine (if you have the time) in a city in Thailand is also a good idea as it will be cheaper than in either the States or in the UK. The post-exposure rabies vaccine should be administered soon after a suspected bite and again on the 3rd, 7th and 14th day.

Rabies can be found in many animals in Thailand (although not on Koh Phangan) including mammals like dogs and bats. Those who are traveling outdoors, camping, or working in close contact with animals should get vaccinated.

Those interested in a rabies vaccination should get it 4 weeks prior to travel.

Malaria Pills
Another important consideration when traveling to Thailand (and to Southeast Asia in general) is the risk of malaria. Malaria can result in unpleasant symptoms like muscle pain, nausea, increased heart rate, chills and fever.

If untreated, the disease can progress to death and it is infectious. Malaria infected mosquitos are most present in the regions of Thailand that border the countries of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Malaria infected mosquitos can also be found in the forested areas of Krabi and in other Southern provinces and far Northern ones, as well. Cases of malaria in the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai are rare, but not unheard of, as are cases on the islands of Thailand.

Most travelers staying in decent hotel accommodation and who aren't venturing out trekking don't take malaria pills, but if you are camping, trekking and staying in exposed accommodation near jungle areas you should talk to your doctor about this.

Drinking Water
Another important consideration when traveling in Thailand is the safety of the drinking water. Most Thais do not even drink water from the tap, they purchase purified and bottled water instead.

This is a recommended practice for travelers, as well.

Thailand and Koh Phangan have become popular and safe places to travel to over the years so don’t be put off but do get yourself covered.

 

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