What's the latest on taking anti-malaria drugs and getting other shots for trips to Southeast Asia? My wife and I will be in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia in June and July, with a fairly tame itinerary of Bangkok and surrounds, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane/Nong Khai, Samui Island, and Siem Reap. I lived in Southeast Asia for six years before we got together, and have had most of the shots the CDC here in the states is recommending (Hep A [IG], Hep B, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus-Diptheria, Measles) except for the Japanese Encephalitis. I've never bothered with the malaria meds as I spent most of my time in Bangkok and other urban-ish areas. But she has never been to Asia before and hasn't had most of these shots. What do you think? What did you do for your trip? How did it turn out? Thanks.
With medical advice you're best to check with a specialist travel doctor, rather than some pundit online (me), but here is a pundit's advice :-)
Read the Malaria sections in our Travel FAQs for Thailand and
Prevention is the best kind of cure -- dress sensibly, use repellent and don't sleep naked in a swamp.
I've lived in Asia for coming upto ten years and have never taken malarials in that period. While that's not to say there isn't any malaria, I'm a big advocate of using preventative tactics rather than pills.
Perhaps others willhave contrasting advice.
Thanks Somtam2000. We did check out the FAQs and thought they were very helpful. Like I said, I never did the malarials either, and like you wouldn't recommend it. I did want to know what others thought about getting the shots vs. not getting the shots, and get feedback, good or bad, from other travellers who have been in the area recently. Cheers.
I spoke to alot of doctors before my last 12 month trip which included alot of Malarial infected countries. I was not prepared to take most of the medicines on offer, larrium etc, because of the side effects they can have, eg insomnia, erratic behavior. Although there was one I considered which is an antibiotic which has no side effects, you start the course before you leave and continue it for a short time on your return. however it is only effective for a maximum of 3 months, after this time you build a tolerance to the drug and it becomes useless. There fore I did not take it as I was on the road for 12 months. I have been through alot of coutries where disease is a problem and have never used any drugs to combat them(except all the shots, Typhoid, Hep , yellow fever , Jap B Enc, etc..) I think the best method for ensuring you dont get Malaria is to use your head, when the sun goes down-put on your long sleves and trousers, use repellnt and a mozzie net. However ,in saying that, I did contract Dengue fever(another Mozzie spread disease). happy travels.