Myanmar is a magnificent country, but it is very important to remember that is not home. In order to get the best out of your trip, it is essential that you look after your travel health when traveling in Myanmar.
Always check ahead of time for any relevant vaccination recommendations and health outbreak concerns. You can seek this information from your local embassy.
Although there are high standard hospitals available in the city of Yangon, throughout the rest of the country, the healthcare system can be somewhat lacking. It is of utmost importance to take out relevant health insurance before you leave your home country. This means shopping around for a travel insurance and private sector health insurance that will cover any eventuality whilst you are in Myanmar. Ensure you are provided with all the relevant details including emergency numbers and policy numbers.
If you are on regular medications, bring a copy of your prescription signed by your doctor and be sure to bring plenty of supplies for the duration of your trip.
Always locate your closest hospital or medical clinic whilst traveling through Myanmar. In the case of a medical urgency, emergency vehicles are sparse and the patient should be taken to the closest available quality hospital or clinic.
All travelers should check that they are up to date with all relevant vaccinations prior to travel. This can be done with your regular doctor or a specialist travel clinic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) can be checked for regular updates on recommended vaccines. At present, recommended vaccinations for travelers to Myanmar include MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), polio, hepatitis B, hepatitis A and typhoid.
If you have visited a country in the yellow fever zone, such as South America or Africa within a week of entering Myanmar, then you will require a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
Mosquitoes in Myanmar can carry dengue and malaria. Mosquito repellent spray containing DEET is highly recommended. Prevention of mosquito bites is much easier than dealing with the itch of a bite once it is present. If you do get bitten, mosquito bites rarely cause any serious problems. A simple steroid cream can ease itching.
When trekking, it advisable to wear sturdy boots. Myanmar is home to an abundance of snakes and leeches, especially in the rainforests. It is sensible to treat all leeches and snakes the same and avoid any contact with them. In the event of a snake bite, medical attention should be sought immediately.
Jellyfish are often spotted in the waters surrounding Myanmar. Although they can be painful, jellyfish stings from the species around Myanmar are not dangerous.
Stay away from stray dogs and monkeys, both of which carry rabies. If you are bitten or scratched by these animals then you will need to seek emergency medical attention.
It is important to note that if you are concerned about any bite or sting, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
It is vital you remain hydrated in the heat of Myanmar. Sometimes it can take a little while to adapt to and cause feet and ankle swelling along with general feelings of tiredness. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, headaches, nausea and a high pulse. Drink plenty of water, seek shade and stay out of the midday day sun to help avoid this.
If you have respiratory problems such as asthma, you may find the air quality in the cities of Yangon and Myanmar irritate your ability to breathe. This is due to heavy pollution, particularly vehicle pollution. If your respiratory issues are severe, you may consider staying outside of urban cities.
Never drink the tap water in Myanmar, it may be contaminated and make you feel unwell. Instead, always purchase bottled water and check the seal, or alternatively boil water to a rolling boil.
With the outlook on the environment and global warming at the forefront of Myanmar’s attention, we are proud to offer all our customers refillable water bottles. Myanmar now boasts over 200 refilling stations available across the country. With an increasing number of hotels and guest houses now offering refilling stations filled with safe drinking water. We are committed in helping Myanmar to become environmentally sustainable and to significantly reduce plastic pollution over the coming years.
It is also important to be aware that fruit juices may have been watered down, avoid ice cubes and salads as they may have been washed with tap water.
Street food in Myanmar tends to be fresh and cooked on the spot posing little threat to contamination. Always eat at restaurants with plenty of visitors, avoid buffets and eat fruits you can easily peel.
Travellers’ diarrhea is the most common complaint of visitors to Myanmar. Travellers’ diarrhea is often contracted through tap water, food or lack of hand washing. The main treatment is to stay hydrated, consume electrolyte replacements and wait for it to pass. If you are concerned seek medical advice and recommendations for an antibiotic to help kill the bacteria in the gut.
If you become unwell or have a serious medical emergency, you should contact the closest quality health service without delay. It is important to note that outside of Yangon, the healthcare structure in Myanmar is poor and buying medications over the counter is not generally recommended.