Health & Safety in Burma
Before leaving for your holiday, it is necessary for travelers to ask questions about health safety and sanitary conditions in Myanmar. By consulting various dedicated websites, some might feel overwhelmed by the information, or even by anxiety. However, some simple gestures can protect you from most of the illnesses in Burma. For the rest, a small first aid kit and one or two vaccines should be able to keep you safe from the health risks during your Burma trip.
Recommendations on immunization for Burma
If you have been to a country which is having yellow fever during 6 days prior to your arrival in Burma, you will be asked for a certificate of vaccination against this disease. Additionally, the World Health Organization recommends the following Myanmar travel vaccinations to make your Burmese experience successful:
For all travelers:
Of course, we advise you to be up to date in your current vaccines: DT Polio, BCG, ROR. Do not forget the repeating vaccines for adults!
For most travelers:
Burma food security standards is completely different from that of Europe. Thus, it is recommended to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and typhoid fever, both of which are transmitted by contaminated water and food. No matter where you are staying, these vaccinations for tourists before coming to Burma are the most necessary.
Immunizations and special medications:
Ask your doctor about the vaccinations in this section: they are to be done against specific diseases developing under specific conditions (climate or region for example).
• Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a disease that is transmitted through sexual intercourse, contaminated foods or blood transfusion. Vaccination is therefore recommended if you plan to have sex, have a tattoo, a piercing, or any medical intervention.
• Japanese Encephalitis: You will need vaccination against this disease if you are going to stay more than a month in Burma, especially rural areas or if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors.
• Malaria: Malaria is still prevalent in some remote areas of Burma. You may need to bring necessary medication with you.
• Rabies: Rabies is transmitted by being bitten infected animals, such as dogs or rats. If you are thinking of spending a long time outdoors, or traveling for a long time to Burma, it would be necessary to inform your doctor.
Note: We advise you to start thinking about these vaccinations once you have purchased your airline tickets for two reasons. The first is that some of these vaccines may require multiple injections in advance. The second is that, since they are not compulsory vaccines, they are not reimbursed by social security. You may then want to spread out your expenses.
Various health recommendations for your trip to Burma
For a better preparation for a tour to Burma, we recommend you to find out more information before your departure.
The first recommendations is of course to subscribe to a travel insurance covering the costs of repatriation. Prepare a small first aid kit with dressings and medicines in your suitcase; Anti-nausea, anti-vomit, common pain relievers, intimate hygiene products are essential for women. In terms of documents, you may want to take with you a blood group card, a USB containing a copy of your health record, or even a letter in English stating any allergies or medical conditions not visible at first glance; this could save time and avoid unfortunate accidents in case of hospital stay.
Secondly, during your Burma trip, it will be easy to avoid problems with a few simple gestures:
• Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Even with vaccination, prevention remains the best protection. Drink only bottled water, and pay attention to the restaurants where you eat. Choose the same restaurants as the locals: in general, you will not risk anything.
• Watch for insect bites and dangerous animals. A number of diseases are transmitted by mosquito bites. Remember to carry anti-mosquito with you, and apply it often enough, especially when you are staying in rural areas. Furthermore, avoid getting close to animals because you may get risk of being bitten. Follow the advice of your guide if you are hiking since Burma is home to dangerous species, including snakes.
• Protect yourself from the sun and heat. It can get very hot and humid in Burma. Wear light and long-sleeved clothing, use sunscreen and hats, and remember to moisturize regularly.
• Pay attention to your personal safety. Whether in transportation or on the street, choose wisely. Pay attention to your belongings, do not show your money or valuables.
Healing in Burma
During your stay in Burma, you may need to seek treatment in Burma. Access to medical care is very difficult, and local hospitals should only be used for extreme emergencies. Do not hesitate to contact your embassy in case of problems. Western medical care is quite expensive; a basic consultation with a doctor in Yangon costs $50.
Avoid attending pharmacies in Burma: you are never safe from counterfeit medicines. At present, zika virus has made a breakthrough in Burma. If you are pregnant, maybe you should think about delaying your stay. Similarly, avoid traveling to areas where malaria is spreading: medicines for this disease are not effective for pregnant women. Consider bringing your own form of contraception with you; Pills or condoms are not easy to find in Burma.
Your Myanmar travel should go very smoothly if you follow some precautionary advice. In Burma more than elsewhere, prevention is better than cure.