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Vietnam – Health and fitness

Travellers to Vietnam should take precautions as they would elsewhere in Asia. There are now a number of international standard medical care facilities available in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Danang and Hanoi. Outside these cities, medical care facilities are more basic.

Travelling might involves some health risks so you should know that when traveling in Vietnam you may be exposed to the following diseases:

– Cholera causes severe diarrhea leading to rapid dehydration, which untreated may prove fatal. It is transmitted through contaminated water or food. To avoid risk, eat and drink carefully, choosing cooked food and bottled beverages, including water. There is no effective vaccine for cholera.

– Typhoid fever is a potentially life threatening illness usually spread by unsanitary conditions, either person to person or through contaminated water, food or drink. Symptoms include high fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite and dizziness. Be careful what you eat and drink (see advice for cholera). Vaccination is recommended.

– Hepatitis A is common in developing countries. Infection can be transmitted person to person or through contaminated food and water. Eat and drink carefully. (see advice for cholera). Vaccination is recommended.

– Hepatitis B is common in many developing countries. It is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, exposure to contaminated fluids, and use of inadequately sterilized syringes/needles. Avoid casual sexual contact, use condoms, and do not share syringes. If you need a blood transfusion, ask to be taken to a hospital or clinic where you can be sure blood is screened. Vaccination is recommended.

– Japanese Encephalitis is a viral disease infecting the brain. It is transmitted by mosquitoes in certain areas of Asia, from India east to Korea, Japan and Indonesia. Make every effort to avoid mosquito bites. Vaccination is recommended for people spending time in rural areas.

– Yellow Fever is a viral illness carried by some species of mosquitoes in central and South America and central Africa. Make every effort to avoid mosquito bites. Vaccination is recommended. Some countries require proof of vaccination for travel in certain areas.

– Rabies is a rare brain infection that follows a bite, scratch, or lick from an infected animal. It can be fatal if not treated promptly. Be cautions around animals as not all rabid animals behave aggressively. Anyone potentially exposed to rabies must clean the wound and seek prompt medial attention. Vaccination is recommended.

– Tetanus is a rare, but potentially fatal disease causing muscle contractions leading to breathing problems. It occurs when a wound, even a trivial one, is contaminated. Keep immunization up to date.

– Polio is widespread through Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It can result in paralysis. It is transmitted primarily through contaminated food or water. Be careful what you eat and drink. (see advice for Cholera). Vaccination is recommended

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