Vietnam travel attracts many people due to its extensive scenic views, ancient architectural designs, temples, and shrines. Every traveler should have the relevant up to date information on health in Vietnam.
Health Care in Vietnam
The health care services in Vietnam are available in both private an9d public sectors. However, private sectors offer better health care services and facilities but they are quite expensive. The public sector, on the other hand, does not meet the standard measures. They require a permit to attend to foreign travelers. The country also has a number of shortcomings like the shortage of doctors and hospital facilities. It is advisable to always carry your medications from your home country that you might require but make sure to ask and at the Vietnam embassy if the medication is allowed because some medications are restricted in Vietnam. In case if emergencies contact your health insurance company as soon as possible because some health care facilities require upfront cash payment before attending to you. You may as well carry emergency money for emergency health-related issues. Purchasing over the counter medications is discouraged due to fake medications from unlicensed pharmacies. To add to that unprescribed medication is not good.
Make sure to keep up to date with the recommended vaccinations; Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid. For some travelers rabies, tuberculosis and Japanese encephalitis vaccinations. Check with your doctor if you are fit. Avail all the information of where you will visit and the activities you will take part in, your age and general health status, this way they will give advice on the medications you should carry and the vaccinations you should get. This is because some areas have higher risks than others.
The roads in major cities in Vietnam are well developed unlike in rural areas where they are unpaved and flooded during the rainy season. The motorcycle is a major means of transport in Vietnam. The risk of injuries and accidents are high. All passengers should wear helmets for protection. Their roads are chaotic because there are no traffic rules majorly in rural areas. Travelers are normally offered vehicles with a driver when a vehicle is rented. Public service vehicles are available but some may not be well maintained.
Food and Water Safety
Eating food from some street vendors are risky as some do not maintain the food safety regulations. Contracting travelers’ diarrhea is easy from such places. Take food from clean restaurants with high customer turn-ups. Eat fresh fruits, well-cooked vegetables and avoid buffets. Also, maintain own personal hygiene before handling food. As for water always drink packed water from bottles. Avoid tap water which may not be treated and may be contaminated.
- Dengue fever: Caused by a virus transmitted through infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are common during the day mostly in urban areas.
- Zika virus: It is a rare viral disease spread through mosquitoes and unprotected sexual intercourse.
- Chikungunya: Viral disease transmitted through mosquitoes especially during the day. Paracetamol will ease the pain of its symptoms.
- Bird flu: Viral disease Vietnam that occurs from poultry but is not deadly for humans. Measures taken are banning poultry products from consumption.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs): Spread mostly through sexual intercourse. Make sure to use protective measures like the use of contaceptives if you get a new partner. Contraceptives are widely available in Vietnam at all times.
There are adequate supplies of sanitary towels for women who might need them but you may want to carry your own stock of birth control which is limited. As for pregnant women they are advised against diseases such as zika, malaria and travelers’ diarrhea which increase risk in pregnancy. They should carry travel insurance that covers their pregnancy-related issues.
Climate and Health
Vietnam has both high and low altitude areas. Travelers may experience acute mountain sickness due to a change in altitudes. Maybe prevented by:
- Avoiding exercises
- Take rest where you are
- Taking anti-sickness medications
- Drinking enough water
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.