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Vietnam forum

Problems with catching any possible disease in Vietnam

Posted by swansil on 19/11/2010 at 07:02

Hello, I have been waiting for my graduation to come to go on a rather long trip to my beloved Vietnam, but soon after I got to know this website, I actually thought about the problem of diseases.. my immune system doesn't work anymore unfortunately and I catch diseases very easily here (in Italy), so I was wondering whether I'd probably waste time and money travelling to South-East Asia.... it is a pity though, what would any of you suggest me?

#1 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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Posted by mattocmd on 19/11/2010 at 14:50

Posted from within Vietnam.

I think you should ask a doctor instead of us.

But hope you can find a way to come!

#2 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365


Posted by MADMAC on 19/11/2010 at 16:33

The tropics have different health issues so you will definitely want to consult your physician.

#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by swansil on 19/11/2010 at 16:39

Hey, thanks but what I was asking for were personal views... I mean, I know what I may go through, but I just wanted to figure out how often and easily these things happen. Every person I know who came back from there didn't catch anything... I was just wondering abyway, not that I didn't know I should have asked the physician! LOL

#4 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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Posted by mattocmd on 20/11/2010 at 01:07

Posted from within Vietnam.

OK...I've been to SE Asia several times. I've eaten food at restaurants with questionable hygienic policies, and been bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes in areas known for Dengue fever and malaria. Yes, I made it back each time and have never had a problem.

However, I don't have any issues with my immune system. Perhaps it was my immune system that prevented me from getting sick or catching a disease.

How often does it happen? Well, probably more often for those who have problems with their immune system.

Our personal views are meaningless...Talk to a doctor.

Again, I hope you can make it. Let us know what the doctor says.

#5 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365

Posted by swansil on 20/11/2010 at 01:16

mattocmd, thanks for the "straightforward" reply.
I'll talk to a doctor when I decide when to come.

P.S: Just to say, I am SO NOT an averagely scared consumeristic tourist, I'm a backpacker after all! XD so i'm not afraid, I was just wondering because I wanted to avoid seeing the doctor..he'd probably tell me it's at my own personal risk...still.

#6 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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Posted by glomer on 20/11/2010 at 06:58

I would add that you might want to speak with an infectious disease specialist who can review any immune system-related labwork you may have had. We did this after my husband was hospitalized last spring, and he was given the go-ahead.

#7 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86

Posted by daawgon on 22/11/2010 at 19:17

Posted from within Vietnam.

I agree with the other responses - this is certainly not the place to seek medical advice. Certainly there are many different types of Vietnamese travel experiences that you might consider. If you were to concentrate on the major tourist centers (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue, Nha Trang and HCMC) in this country and not wander off to the boonies, there is very little chance of contracting a tropical disease, IMHO. Vietnam is a safe and friendly destination - every day this country upgrades it's facilities a little more. No country is 100% safe, but much of this safety has to do with you, and how you travel. Sounds to me like you need a thorough health evaluation, and possibly a visit to a competent nutritionist.

#8 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,093

Posted by jojo123 on 23/11/2010 at 00:46

I recently went to the special travel clinic here in Canada.
We were strongly advised to have Hep A, Typhoid and Cholera-ecoli, and read the riot act to avoid tap water, ice cubes, pre-peeled fruit, salad - the usual stuff. Oh and no swimming in fresh water, esp Mekong (though why anyone would want to swim in that is beyond me!).

We were offered malaria and rabies, but this was more 'optional' - we opted no. Common sense dictates head to toe Deet anyway to avoid Dengue fever from mosquitoes, and if you aren't planning to hang out with monkeys and stray dogs then you don't need rabies jab :)

The other thing in terms of more regular germs is the flu jab. If you are always catching coughs and colds easily you should consider getting it - more due to the flights than Vietnam.

#9 jojo123 has been a member since 15/11/2010. Posts: 16

Posted by swansil on 23/11/2010 at 01:24

Thank you all, lol, I wanted to read some personal experiences...
What I want to underline that I haven't asked because I was/am scared of SE Asia, ehm, I felt I passed like the average tourist..
I am devoting my life to Vietnam, so daawgon..please don't talk that hard on me!

#10 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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Posted by violets on 23/11/2010 at 04:47

Tuberculosis is another thing to consider. It hardly exists in most western countries now but is still in Vietnam. A test showed that I'd developed antibodies to it after a couple of visits a decade ago. I think there's a shot you can have, but you'll need time. You also need about 6 months for the hepatitis shots (2 or 3 for that) so should get moving.

#11 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 151

Posted by swansil on 23/11/2010 at 05:22

wow, it looks like I won't be able to go there and get back safe, XD kidding.. anyway I am not going soon, so thanks violets I'll bear it in mind get ready looong before the departure..

#12 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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Posted by busylizzy on 23/11/2010 at 06:00

"I have been waiting for my graduation to come to go on a rather long trip to my beloved Vietnam"
" I am devoting my life to Vietnam"


Hey Swansil - your comments have intrigued me and I hope you don't mind asking.... what is your connection/interest in Vietnam? Family background? Planning on studying there? Other?

I'm just being nosey so feel free to ignore me if you'd rather! :-)

Lisa

#13 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by swansil on 23/11/2010 at 07:01

Hey Lisa,
well..to make a long story short,here in Italy teachers unfortunately don't let you study what you want or what you're more interested in..so, if you want, you must do it as your own extra schoolwork or leisure activity..so i decided to read something about the american war back when i was attending high school and by then I started developing a much deeper interest in Vietnamese culture.I was struck by Vietnamese people's straightforwardness no matter what..so now,i am graduating in International studies,writing a dissertation on how Vietnam may be a model to PRC in establishing diplomatic ties with the Holy See and leisurely teaching myself Vietnamese when i have time! plus,i'd really like to go there and explore it,culturally speaking..and by the way,if i fail with the living/working-in-Vietnam plan,I have decided to go living in New Zealand, from where you are! hehe, weird coincidence,isn't it?
thanks for your interest..even though a little OT XD
why were you intrigued by my phrases? XD

#14 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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Posted by busylizzy on 23/11/2010 at 07:40

Hi - thanks for the reply!

I wasn't specifically intrigued by your phrases as such - just your strong interest/dedication to Vietnam. Given your level knowledge and interest in Vietnam, you will really get a huge amount out of your visit there - much more than casual visitors (myself included) ever will. You will be arriving with a deeper understanding of their history and culture, and the language that you are learning will help you get past the tourist-based banter - and you will leave with an even deeper understanding. I think it's awesome!

And you can't go wrong with a visit to NZ, of course! It's a pretty awesome country, if I do say so myself. :-)

I'll look forward to reading about your Vietnam experiences as you make your way there!

#15 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by williamducles on 23/11/2010 at 17:15

Well, the disease thing can happen to you anywhere if you are not taking precautions. You are not going to some forest?

#16 williamducles has been a member since 23/10/2010. Posts: 19

Posted by bekk on 23/11/2010 at 18:10

hi swansil,
i have not been to vietnam yet, but i am currently in laos and have just been through thailand and am having a great time. it is your decision, of course, but this is my experience...
my immune system is not completely gone, but is significantly diminished. normally i just live with the colds and other infections, but i really wanted this trip and would rather take the risk and worse come to worse, my travel insurance will ship me home if i get really sick. so i am on broad spectrum antibiotics and am extremely vigilant about bug spray and mosquito nets, but take risks with street food, ice and fresh fruit and have had no troubles on the stomach/ intestine front, but have lived through two respiratory infections in three weeks (one related to bkk smog, i think) and if you are anything like me, no cold is going to stop me from enjoying myself, but the risk of bigger and worse things are a serious threat that is with me all the time.


but i know what you mean, all a doctor is going to say is no or probably not. which is sad. but i wondered how i would feel if i didn't even try.


hope this helps, let me know how it works out for you!


bekk

#17 bekk has been a member since 13/10/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by swansil on 24/11/2010 at 01:24

@busylizzy: I actually would like to move to NZ for good! ahah anyway, I'll let you know whether or not I'll go to Vietnam......I lack money now, by the way.

@williamducles: I think I might. If/when I go there, I'll go "sightseeing" with a Vietnamese friend of mine (at least for some days), so I guess I'll be pretty involved in seeing the country from a national's point of view (hopefully)

@bekk: wow, nice trip you're having! And, yes, I am just like you, so I will gitit a try but I'll be threatened by those billions diseases we're not used to get (I wish I was Asian anyway!) Thanks for your reply, it was what I intended to look for! XD

#18 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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Posted by williamducles on 26/11/2010 at 22:47

That is nice. Just be safe and travel light.

#19 williamducles has been a member since 23/10/2010. Posts: 19

Posted by errik on 29/11/2010 at 22:06

swansil, I would say one thing. When in Rome, act like romans.

#20 errik has been a member since 28/10/2010. Posts: 28

Posted by williamducles on 1/12/2010 at 21:14

Yeah but it is very difficult to feel like romans.

#21 williamducles has been a member since 23/10/2010. Posts: 19

Posted by swansil on 3/12/2010 at 19:19

Yeah errick, that's just what I usually do everywhere I go.

Williamducles, why should it be difficult?

#22 swansil has been a member since 19/11/2010. Location: Italy. Posts: 8
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