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Planning a South East Asian adventure? Travel vaccines explained

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South East Asia. So much to explore – Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo, Indonesia – just to start the dream holiday list. But if you are planning to travel there, you’ll want to stay safe. And that means two things – travel insurance and vaccinations.

In our first post on travel vaccines, we recommended some of the jabs you should discuss with your doctor before you take that well-earned break abroad. In this post, we look at health issues travellers face when holidaying in some of Singapore’s neighbouring countries.

Remember to check if you or your little ones have missed out on any regular childhood vaccines, it’s never too late to get up to date!


The most common diseases in Cambodia are caused by a lack of clean water supply, poor sanitation in areas and hygiene. Health issues include malnutrition, malaria, tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases. Protect yourself against these by discussing them with your doctor.


Travellers face issues of local hygiene, unsafe food and water, diseases transmitted by mosquitos and issues caused by accidents. Tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations should be checked, along with valuable others, such as hepatitis A and typhoid. Be aware of cases of rabies in Bali, both in humans and animals.


Diseases such as dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and malaria are endemic. Drug-resistant strains of malaria and tuberculosis are common in many areas. Hepatitis vaccinations are recommended and cholera oral vaccine is worthwhile. Tap water isn’t safe to drink.


Although safer than many other Southeast Asian countries, you should still be vigilant. Health concerns include dengue fever and dehydration. Only buy medicine from a reputable pharmacy.


Make sure you are protected against the food and water borne diseases of typhoid and hepatitis A. For those trekking, or staying for longer periods, then consider protection against hepatitis B and rabies. The vaccine against malaria prophylaxis may also be something worth investigating.


Hepatitis A can be caught through contaminated water regardless of where you are staying or eating, as well as typhoid from contaminated food or water. Have this vaccine especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas.


Hepatitis A and B may be an issue, especially in the countryside, where hygiene standards may not always be as good as the cities.

Always remember – you can protect yourself from catching many diseases by using common sense and judging cleanliness and hygiene.

  • Always wash your hands with soap.
  • Avoid mozzie bites by using a good repellant, covering up and/or staying indoors at dawn and dusk.
  • Drink bottled water and check the lid hasn’t been tampered with and filled with tap water.
  • Brush your teeth and rinse your toothbrush with bottled water.
  • As a precaution, close your mouth while showering if you are in a country where the water is unsafe to drink.

Prevention of disease is always better than cure; it’s best to discuss your travel arrangements with your doctor. Good travel insurance is essential on any trip.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good Travel cover.
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