Medications, vaccinations, food Safety, precaution medicine, hospitals in Bhutan. What are recommended shots for travel to Bhutan? What are health dos and don’ts? What medications should I bring? If I were to fall sick in Bhutan, where should I go?
Following information is provided in good faith as a guide. You must check with your health care provider, visit a travel clinic for specific advice on health related issues. There are no mandatory vaccinations required to enter Bhutan, but it is advised to be immunized against Rabies and Hepatitis A, as well as getting boosters for Tetanus and Polio if necessary. Be sure to check with your health care provider that you are up-to-date with routine vaccinations. Yellow fever is not a disease risk in Bhutan but the government requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to produce a proof of yellow fever vaccination. If you will be traveling to one of these countries where yellow fever is present before arriving in Bhutan, you may be required to produce a certificate or proof that you have yellow fever vaccination. Cases of Malaria are reported in southern Bhutan, close to the Indian border, below 1400m altitude. The regular tourist routes that visit these areas are Phuntsholing and Samdrupjongkhar. Unless you are arriving or travelling via India to Bhutan, you generally do not need to worry about Malaria. Medicines you may need: You must bring your prescription medicines that you take every day. Make sure you have enough to last during your trip. Keep them in their original prescription bottles and always in your carry-on luggage. Be sure to follow security guidelines, if the medicines are liquids. Antimalarial drugs if traveling to a malaria-risk area. Medicine for diarrhea. Other items you may need are Iodine tablets/portable water filters to purify water, if you are trekking in Bhutan (when the bottled waters are available). Sunblock (at least 15 SPF) and sunglasses for protection from harmful effects of UV sun rays. Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. To prevent insect/mosquito bites, bring: Lightweight long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat to wear outside, whenever possible. Flying-insect spray to help clear rooms of mosquitoes. The product should contain a pyrethroid insecticide; these insecticides quickly kill flying insects, including mosquitoes. Staying Healthy during Your Trip: Prevent insect bites by using insect repellent (bug spray) with 30%-50% DEET. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat outdoors. Spray rooms with products effective against flying insects. Avoid direct contact with animals to prevent animal bites and scratches. If you are bitten, wash the wound well with soap and water and go to a doctor right away. Gastric diseases are common among tourists who are not accustomed to local food or who do not take precautions. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol). Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. Make sure food is fully cooked. Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized. Bring anti-diarrhea medication with you; you so that you can treat mild cases yourself. Prevent Sunburn by using sun-gears such as hats, sun-glasses and sunblock creams. To avoid infections such as HIV and viral hepatitis do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing, or injections. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot Altitude problems are generally not experienced by people who are doing cultural tours (travelling in the vehicle) in Bhutan. If you are hiking or trekking, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude illness. If you experience these symptoms descend to a lower altitude and seek medical attention. Altitude illness can be fatal. Bhutanese hospitals provide only basic health care. The main hospital of Bhutan is in Thimphu and there is one hospital in the major town centers and basic health units in the villages. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, located in Thimphu; phone + 975 2 324 817, fax + 975 2 325 384.website: w ww.jdwnrh.gov.bt we strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Travel Insurance is available for purchase through Wind Horse for US and Canadian Residents. You should check any exclusion, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. Travel Resources /References: Also visit the following websites for health and medical advice Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, U.S.A (w ww.cdc.gov/travel) British government official travel advice & warnings (w ww.fco.gov.uk) Official travel advice & warnings New Zealand government. (w ww.safetravel.govt.nz) Canadian government’s official travel advice (w ww.voyage.gc.ca) US State Department Travel Advisories (w ww.travel.state.gov) Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade (w ww.smartraveller.gov.au)
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