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South East Asia

South East Asia
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Protect your health while travelling in South East Asia

South East Asia is a destination that encourages travellers to keep coming back. The region offers stunning beaches, warm seas, low prices, delicious local food and some of the world’s best-loved cultural sites, including Angor Wat and the clifftop temple at Preah Vihear.

Business travellers are also drawn to the region’s burgeoning economies, particularly the city-state of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

South East Asia’s natural wonders continue to astonish – the iconic rock formations at Ha Long Bay and the extraordinary Komodo dragons of Indonesia spring to mind.

Do I need any shots for travel in South East Asia?

It is possible to contract some dangerous diseases in South East Asia and so there are some vaccinations to get before you travel to places like Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines. And there are also a few practical precautions you can take to protect your health during your visit.

Food- and water-borne diseases in South East Asia

The hepatitis A shot will protect you from a virus that causes unpleasant gastro-intestinal symptoms. You may also wish to consider getting vaccinated against typhoid.

Singapore has a high standard of sanitation, but many other parts of South East Asia do not have tap water that is safe to drink. A few basic precautions will help you avoid gastro-intestinal upsets during your visit.

Drink only water that you know is safe. Factory-sealed bottles are fine; or water that you know has been treated. Watch out for ice in drinks: freezing does not kill the viruses, parasites and bacteria that cause disease.

Only eat food that is hot and fresh. Raw food should be avoided, unless you can peel it yourself. Do not eat anywhere if you are uncertain about the hygiene standards.

Avoid mosquito bites

You can contract malaria in parts of South East Asia from the bite of an infected mosquito. Malaria prophylaxis is available from our clinics. It can be tricky to find the right regime and to work out when to start your course of tablets, but the nurses at Global Travel Clinics have all the information you need.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is another life-threatening illness that can be contracted from a mosquito bite. You can get vaccinated against JE, and this shot will be recommended if you are travelling in rural areas.

There are also other insect-borne illnesses in South East Asia, such as Dengue fever, filariasis, leishmaniasis, plague and typhus, for which there are no vaccines. You should always avoid mosquito and insect bites wherever possible. Some general advice is:

  • Wear clothing that provides good limb coverage
  • Apply an effective insecticide such as DEET
  • Sleep under mosquito nets or in an air-conditioned room, or one with good screens on the windows and doors.
Other recommended vaccines for South East Asia

Discuss your travel plans with your adviser at Global Travel Clinics and they can tell you whether to get vaccinated against rabies and hepatitis B before you travel to South East Asia.

You should make an appointment at our travel clinic at least six to eight weeks in advance as some vaccines need to be given in several doses over a few weeks.