- It is strongly recommended that you carry a small first aid kit with you, even if you are travelling on business. In the event of an accident or emergency health problem in Vietnam, you should have a travel insurance policy with coverage that includes emergency evacuation to Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok for treatment. Medical attention in Vietnam is reasonable, but equipment and medicines are in chronic short supply.
- The Vietnamese authorities, but immunization against cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, and polio officially require no vaccinations, and Japanese encephalitis is advised. Rabies is widespread in Vietnam, so you are advised to avoid dogs and other animals that may bite as a precaution.
- Malaria is widespread in Vietnam, especially in the Central Highlands and some parts of the Mekong Delta. The best protection against malaria is to avoid being bitten in the first place. Check with your physician about taking a course of anti-malarial. If it is considered necessary given your itinerary, you might need to begin before your trip and continue for a time after you return.
- Dengue fever, which is also transmitted by mosquitoes, is often mistaken for malaria. Its symptoms are severe pain in the joints, high fever, and extreme headache. Aside from avoiding being bitten altogether (this mosquito is active in daytime and is often a striped variety), there is no prevention available. Hospital treatment is urgently required.
- FOOD & WATER
- As with most underdeveloped countries, stomach upsets and diarrhea are a common problem and can ruin a visit. Most problems stem from contaminated water. Unless it has been thoroughly boiled, do not drink tap water. You should also avoid ice in drinks, especially in the countryside. Imported bottled water is available in most cities, but beware of bottles that have been refilled with tap water. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are fine and in hotels you can use the hot water in your room to make Chinese tea. You should have no problems with thoroughly cooked food, but stay clear of anything that looks like it has been reheated from a previous meal. Take care with seafood and avoid undercooked meat. Only eat fruit that you have peeled yourself, but salads should be given a miss.