Health Care in Thailand

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Health Care in ThailandMedical Services in Thailand

General practitioners, dentists and opticians are readily available.  Doctors and staff in the larger hospitals generally speak good English. Every major town in Thailand will have a public hospital, but these can be poorly equipped and overcrowded. However, there is a good number of private hospitals and we recommend these for easier communication and better service.

Ask for “long-piya-barn ekachon” – private hospital.

Most general practitioners work at Polyclinics, which offer a walk in service from 8:00am until 9:00pm. Clinics offer a full range of services, including laboratory facilities, tests can be conducted and the results known, within a very short period of time. Currently the fee for seeing the doctor will be around 100-200 Baht, and the total bill, including medication, may be no more that 500 Baht.

Hospitals also offer a walk in service, where you can see a general practitioner, during the daytime. Many also offer a 24-hour emergency room service.

Emergency ambulance services differ from those found in most western countries. All hospitals have ambulances but they are mostly used to transfer patients. Emergency numbers are only useful if you can speak Thai. If you need help contact the Tourist Police.

In the event of car accident, an ambulance is not always called. In many instances, a passing motorist will take the injured to hospital.

Common Ailments whilst Travelling in Thailand

Many of the problems that travellers encounter are minor and would not cause much concern in their home country.   However, a minor problem can quickly grow into a bigger one, due to Thailand’s heat and humidity. Don’t wait too long if you think you need treatment.  Remember that tests, which might take days in your home country, can often be conducted with in an hour or so at the local polyclinic, and the appropriate medication prescribed. You can then be back on your feet ready to enjoy the rest of your holiday in a very short period of time.

Vaccinations for Thailand

At the current time there is no compulsory immunisation required for Thailand. Medical opinions also vary as to which immunisations are advisable. The following vaccines are generally recommended for adults, however you should consult a good travel Doctor to discuss your individual needs:

  • Polio (up to date)
  • Typhoid
  • Tetanus (up to date)
  • Hepatitis ‘A’ (Gamma Globulin, or Havarix)

Pharmacies in Thailand

A pharmacy will be found on most streets in Thailand. They sell a wide range of products, both locally and internationally produced. However they may not have your particular brand. If you have special requirements it is a good idea to consult your doctor at home and bring adequate supplies with you, or make sure you know the generic name for any medication that you may require. In some cases pharmacies are able to sell you medications that would require a doctors prescription in your home country.

Health Insurance for Thailand

By international standards the cost of medical treatment in Thailand is surprisingly low. Nevertheless travel insurance is strongly recommended.

Acclimatisation whilst in Thailand

Adjusting to the tropical climate of Thailand can take a while, but you can lessen the degree of discomfort by heeding a few suggestions.

  • Wear loose-fitting, natural fibre clothing and open shoes, which give good skin ventilation. Perspiration and dampness can cause bacterial and fungal growth, which cause itching and rashes.
  • Don’t worry about getting a sun tan, the sun will find you.  The sun is very strong, and you can become sunburned in a very short period of time. Wear a hat to protect you head and a sun block to protect exposed areas of the body.
  • Increase fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Water and fruit juices are best.
  • Introduce you stomach gradually to new hot spicy foods.
  • Avoid doing too much at the hottest time of day and arrange vigorous activity for the early morning or late afternoon.
  • After bathing, dry thoroughly and apply powder.
  • Use a fan to circulate air instead of air-conditioning. This will greatly speed up the process of acclimatisation.

Thailand Drinking Water

Tap water comes from various sources in Thailand. In most towns it will have passed through a treatment plant, however, this is no guarantee of its purity.

Bottled water is provided in most hotels, and can also be bought easily and inexpensively at most shops.

Take care with ice, which may be made with tap water of questionable quality. Usually ice with round holes is made by commercial ice makers who purify their water.

Malaria in Thailand

Malaria is not a problem in the major tourist centres like Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket. However it is wise to take sensible precautions to avoid insect bites at all times.  To avoid insect bites the use of an insect repellent is recommended.

If you plan to travel away from the major tourist areas then you should seek medical advice about the type of anti-malarial medication required.  Some strains of Malaria are now resistant to the more common anti-malarial drugs.

It is important to check on this information as early as possible, as some drugs need to be taken for a period of time before possible exposure to the disease. This may mean starting the course of drugs before you leave home.

HIV – AIDS in Thailand

This disease is generally transmitted by the sharing of hypodermic needles or by sexual contact.

If you do require an injection of any kind, watch carefully to see that the doctor or nurse uses a new syringe and needle. Generally this is the normal practice, but it pays to be careful.

Condoms are widely available throughout the country. They are often referred to as a Meechai, named after the Thai government minister who championed their use for birth control.

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Updated: June 12, 2011 by admin

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