Avoid the Chills from Travel Ills in Laos
Traveling in Southeast Asia certainly involves concerns about your traveler’s health and safety and that of their travel companions. In Laos, health issues and the quality and availability of medical facilities vary broadly, depending on your traveler’s elected route and travel preferences. These concerns are mostly about the worst-case scenario such as contracting an infectious disease while traveling in remote destinations.
Tropical illnesses such as dengue and malaria are definitely present in Laos, but the average traveler has little to worry about if one follows the three P´s: Be Proactive, Prepare and Protect.
Be Proactive: Your travelers should make sure they have had or receive the mandatory and recommended vaccinations prior to departure. The only vaccine required by international regulations is yellow fever. However, specialized travel-medicine clinics in your client’s home country can inform them about additional recommended vaccinations. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that travelers have the following immunizations for general travel in SE Asia, keeping in mind that these vaccines or booster shots may include minor side effects:
- Adult diphtheria and tetanus
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Measles, mumps and rubella
Prepare: Khiri Travel cannot dispense advice about vaccines and malaria prophylaxis. However, we can certainly reassure your travelers that Southeast Asia and Laos are not covered with evil diseases. We have never experienced or been notified that one of your clients has contracted anything serious during our trips. But this does not give us a free ticket to say that malaria prophylaxis is no longer needed. We can only strongly recommend that your clients inform themselves in advance to be prepared.
Protect: The following are certain precautions for your travelers to protect themselves from mosquito bites:
- Wear light colored, long sleeve clothing, especially in the late afternoon and evening.
- Use mosquito repellent containing the active ingredient “deet.”
- For an overnight in the forest or jungle, use a mosquito net while sleeping.
If your clients feel uncertain about any possible risks during their travel, please contact us at any time to discuss further precautions. In our experience, pre-existing conditions and a lack of experience coping with local travel situations, such as the food, weather conditions, traffic or plain travel exhaustion are the main causes for accidents and illnesses. Experiencing minor discomforts in one way or the other is relatively common due to the stress and changing environmental circumstances one’s body is exposed to while traveling in Southeast Asia.
Fortunately, most common illnesses can either be prevented with common-sense behavior or be treated easily with a well-stocked traveler’s medical kit. Treatments such as charcoal, stomach tablets, or electrolyte powders, which help to rebalance body fluids, can come in handy to treat commonly occurring diarrhea or dehydration.
Due to the hot and humid climate, skin rashes and chafing irritations can occur. Talcum powder or antifungal creams such as Clotrimazole or Lamisil can help your travelers prevent or relieve these skin ailments. Small cuts and scratches should also be thoroughly washed with soap and water, treated with antiseptic or topical antibiotics and covered with gauze or Band-Aids to prevent infection. If your travelers are facing minor inflammations such as from cuts, aches and pains, Ibuprofen is a good choice for a medical kit.
Medical and health care is certainly available in all the major cities of Laos, even though the standard might be lower compared to neighboring Thailand. Minor to moderate medical problems can be treated in international hospitals in Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Additionally, the Australian and French Embassies operate medical centers in the Vientiane. More serious conditions and emergencies are treated in the international hospitals of Nong Khai and Udon Thani in Thailand close to the Lao-Thai border.
In addition to following the three P’s, Khiri Travel strongly recommends your travelers sign up for travel health insurance. Even if your clients are in an overall good state of health, the insurance will cover them for adventure activities as well as emergency evacuation if necessary.
We wish your travelers safe and healthy travels during your discovery of beautiful destinations in Laos. For more information about tours to Laos and any questions about medical preparations before a trip to Southeast Asia, please leave your contact information in the form provided.