Sue and I are getting ready to leave October 6th for Thailand. We have done this enough that it is pretty easy for us now, but I did call our county health department, where we get most our vaccinations, to see if we were up to date.
Everything was OK with nothing to do this time. What they checked for was hepatitis A and B, tetanus and typhoid. The hepatitis vaccination lasts for life, but the other two do need to be renewed periodically. Visit our website to see other things they might have checked for but are rare enough that in our case they did not bother.
We are not bringing Malaria pills. We never have. Don’t bother with these unless you are going somewhere none of us at the foundation have ever been. While you can find malaria in Thailand, you have to work hard to do it. In addition to Thailand, Sue and I spent a lot of time in Indian slums over the past 10 years and have never bothered with malaria meds. We will spend a week in the cyclone ravaged Myanmar delta area next month and will take some mosquito repellent, which we have never used in Thailand, but that is all. We are staying in small hotels at night. Sleeping outdoors in that area is unnecessary and not a good idea.
The Thai government and military have a mosquito abatement program that appears to work well. There are very few mosquitoes around Nang Rong, and few of those could infect you with a disease. Over a five month period I will get maybe two or three bites.
You really should get these immunizations. I remember one problem at a local restaurant that gave hepatitis to over a hundred people. I have also have had cuts and stepped on rusty nails which everyone knows leads to a tetanus shot since most people have let whatever protection they have had in this department lapse.
One thing is common to all these incidents. They happened in the U.S. The town with the restaurant hepatitis problem was Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where I am now. Our local health department knows that these vaccinations are good to have wherever you live. If traveling scares you into getting them, fine.
Whether you plan to come here as a volunteer or not, whether you will come next year or five years from now, go to your local heath department, tell them you are coming to Thailand, and get your shots. Anytime is good.