Asia is an incredible place to explore, with plenty of amazing sights and cities. We share these tips on how to stay healthy in Asia whilst you travel the continent and stay safe in Asia too.
The continent of Asia is home to very popular travel destinations. However, just like in any other location, chances for illness and injury remain. In fact, the CDC notes as many as 43% to 79% of travelers returning from low and middle-income countries become ill with a travel-related health problem. With 80% of developing Asia’s economies considered middle-income in the World Bank classification, there is reasonable cause for concern.
Thankfully, there are many ways to stay healthy while traveling around different countries in Asia. Let’s take a closer look at some helpful tips below.
Research Covid-19 protocols
While the pandemic is waning, protocols may vary depending on the severity of the virus within a country’s population. Case in point: Singapore and the Philippines are leading in bookings in Southeast Asia. However, tourists will find that using face masks is still mandatory in indoor private or public establishments in the Philippines. On the other hand, Singapore just removed this requirement last August.
It’s important to double-check the protocols beforehand so that you can make the necessary adjustments. Certain countries like Sri Lanka or Oman are open to non-vaccinated travelers, whereas others may only welcome fully vaccinated visitors to minimize the further spread of the virus. Failure to secure these requirements may lead to complications when attempting to acquire a visa or pass through airport immigration.
Update your vaccines
Besides Covid-19, other viruses in Asia may pose a higher risk of infection due to the climate and local hygiene standards. For example, countries in Western Asia, like Saudi Arabia, would recommend that travelers are up-to-date with their MMR vaccine, given the surge of measles in the country since 2019. Otherwise, no vaccination is required to visit certain countries in North and Central Asia such as Russia, Kazakhstan, or Kyrgyzstan. This is mainly because there’s very little risk in terms of COVID in the areas.
Updating your vaccines ensures that your body’s immunization to infections is maximized. This allows you to travel to these destinations without fear of contracting or spreading these diseases.
Of course, vaccines aren’t impenetrable defenses, and more importantly, may not always be available. For instance, the risk of dengue may be high in South Asia, specifically in India. However, there is no vaccine for this disease. Instead, tourists must take their own precautions against mosquito bites. This means that vaccine or no vaccine, in many cases it could be your responsibility to remain vigilant and prioritize prevention over cure.
Research smoke-free destinations
Whether you’re a smoker or non-smoker, traveling can be a great way to lessen your smoke intake and give your lungs a break. This can be done by researching local smoking laws and targeting destinations with smoke-free policies, such as Brunei or Cambodia.
For smokers who are quitting and want to avoid temptation, it may be best to look into countries where smokeless NRT options like nicotine gum are allowed. Of course, consider special restrictions like the ban on gum in Singapore. In this case, some nicotine pouch brands available on Prilla, like brands such as On! or Velo, have a range of different flavors, all of which can be discreetly enjoyed even on the public grounds of Marina Bay Sands.
However, make sure to look out for the ban on flavored alternatives, which has extended to some Asian countries such as India or The Philippines. When in doubt, unflavored choices like the nicotine pouches from brands like On! or ZYN can be the safest option. This ensures that travelers can avoid the unhealthy effects of tobacco while mitigating cravings and enjoying the sights of Asia.
Bring the right medication
Besides NRT options for smokers who are quitting, other personal medications must be prepared when traveling to Asia. That is because your prescription medications may be sold under different names and labels.
A health kit should include the basics. Examples include antihistamines or anti-diarrhea medication, considering that food-borne illnesses are very common in parts of Asia compared to other regions in the world.
Pay attention to medications that may be banned for usage in other countries. For instance, many states in America and some countries in Europe have legalized the medical usage of marijuana. In Asia, however, only Thailand has come to legalize cannabis as of June 2022. Possession of these products may result in your deportation and arrest, even with a prescription.
In Japan, even the common Tylenol is illegal, and local variations can be used instead for pain. Hence, it’s important to do your research beforehand and only carries medicine that you are certain is permitted for travel.
Travel with insurance
If you end up contracting an illness abroad, it’s best to immediately seek treatment before your condition worsens. This is where insurance is crucial. As we’ve previously discussed in Travel and Life Insurance, this can help cover the cost of any emergency medical bills you have.
Remember that coverage may also differ when traveling to countries that are war zones or are dealing with natural disasters. Confer with your insurance company if you plan to visit high-risk destinations in Asia, such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Once again, researching your destination beforehand goes a long way in ensuring smoother travels. With the right preparation, you can enjoy the sights of Asia and return home in good health. Need more advice? Check out the rest of our posts here on Creative Travel Guide for unique travel insights and tips.