Traveling to South East Asia often means getting vaccinated and Laos is no exception.
While a trip to the country is an overall enjoyable and safe experience you may need a few vaccinations to go to Laos.
Before any trip overseas to a tropical, forested country like Laos, you should always consult your doctor regarding the suitable travel vaccines for your trip. They will be able to give you detailed advice on the right protection for the areas that you’ll be visiting.
When you arrive in Laos the first thing you’ll need however is a visa. For most tourists and travelers to the country, that means getting a visa on arrival. Though, in June 2019 the country will launch a new eVisa system.
To get a Laos Visa online you can apply for the Laos eVisa from this launch date and receive a pre-approved document prior to travel saving yourself airport lines. It follows many of the same Laos visa on arrival requirements and can be completed from the comfort of your home prior to your flight.
Laos visa aside, something you do need to get in advance when traveling there is your shots. , Let’s take a look at what immunizations for Laos your doctor might recommend in addition to a few tips for staying healthy while in the country.
What Vaccinations Do I Need For Laos?
Before setting off on your trip you should ensure that you are up to date with your routine immunizations. The following are the recommended travel vaccinations for Laos:
Hepititis A and B
Hepatitis A and B are both diseases of the liver. They can be particularly nasty ailments causing stomach pains, fatigue and in untreated cases of Hepatitis B cirrhosis of the liver.
Hep A is caught from contaminated food or water in Laos. For this reason, it’s critical to take care of what you eat and drink in the country.
Hepatitis B, on the other hand, is often caught from sexual transmission and via infected blood. This is most often contracted from sex with a new partner while in Laos or via contaminated needles from getting tattoos or piercings.
Typhoid is another illness that is spread by contaminated food and water. It is a particularly nasty condition that can cause headaches, aches, and pains as well as a high fever.
It’s possible to be protected from typhoid with either a shot that can last for up to 2 years and provides protection 7 days after being injected. Alternatively, you can receive an oral vaccine that can last for up to 5 years. The oral vaccine, however, contains a live sample of the virus, which may cause side effects.
Japanese Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne virus that affects the brain and in serious cases causes brain damage and death.
As a rule of thumb if you’re traveling to rural areas and will be spending a lot of time outside you should consider getting an injection for Japanese Encephalitis. Be sure to mention to your doctor if you’re are going to the more isolated regions.
Rabies is transmitted via infected animal bites and can often prove fatal. It is a very serious illness that requires urgent treatment.
However, in the case of rabies, prevention is definitely better than a cure. That’s why doctors will often recommend tourists receive a course of rabies shots before visiting Laos and many other South East Asian countries. Furthermore, even if you’ve had the vaccination, avoid wild animals that might be carrying the disease where possible.
You won’t contract the yellow fever virus while in Laos. Nevertheless, if you are traveling from a country where yellow fever is present it is obligatory to have proof of the vaccination.
Be aware, however, the yellow fever vaccine contains a live sample of the virus. This can on rare occasions cause a severe allergic reaction.
Many visitors to the country wonder if there is cholera in Laos. While a few cases of the illness are still reported each year it’s relatively rare and seldom affects tourists to the country.
Most travelers can avoid contracting it by taking the right precautions around what they eat and drink. Still, if you’re visiting more of the country’s many rural areas, a doctor may recommend a shot. Despite its relative rarity cholera is still a very serious illness if caught and can kill in hours if it’s not treated properly.
The poliovirus is all but eradicated from the population of Laos. However, it is often still recommended to have the polio vaccination before traveling to the country.
This is because there is still a small risk of contracting the disease from contaminated food and water. Make sure to ask your doctor to make sure you’re up to date with your immunizations. Some visitors may need a booster shot before they embark on their trip to Laos.
What Other Health Precautions Should I Take?
In addition to the vaccinations for Laos listed above, there are a few other health tips you should follow on your trip:
Get malaria protection
Many of the tourist hotspots in Laos are free from malaria and mosquitos carrying the virus are rarely found in major cities like Vientiane. Though, for those heading north to Vang Vieng or to rural spots, there is a low risk of infection and protection is important.
Furthermore, if you’re heading to the south of the country and to cities like Savannahket or Salavan it’s essential to carry malaria tablets. The rural southern regions of the country are a high-risk area for the illness. You should always bring antimalarials if you are traveling here.
Is there Zika in Laos?
Since stories first broke in the media of birth defects caused by the Zika virus, many tourists have worried about catching the illness. Laos is certainly a country where there is a threat of catching Zika, although, the disease can be prevented with the help of mosquito repellent and netting (which is also great for preventing other nasty mosquito-spread viruses like dengue).
There are currently no vaccines for Zika available for the general public. However, with the right precautions, you are unlikely to catch the illness. Furthermore, the virus doesn’t present a serious risk to the majority of travelers.
Pregnant women, on the other hand, are advised to avoid travel to Zika affected locations. Also, men and women planning a pregnancy, should avoid mosquitos and wait for at least 3 months after their return from Laos before getting pregnant.
Our Top Tips for Staying Healthy In Laos
For the most part, visitors to Laos are unlikely to encounter any issues with health and safety. Laos is a relatively safe country and tourists in the country only need to follow a few basic steps to enjoy a wonderful stay in the country. Our top tips include:
- Be careful what you eat and drink
- Prevent against mosquito bites
- Sanitize properly
- Exercise caution if getting tattoos or piercings in Laos
- Speak to a doctor before traveling for the right vaccination advice
Naturally, with the right vaccinations and proper precautions, it’s doubtful you’ll ever experience any of the ailments listed above.
Don’t forget you can apply for a Laos Visa Online from June 2019. This offers a simpler, worry-free way to get a tourist travel visa for Laos or Laos Business Visa. Getting the eVisa only takes a few minutes and can be done in ease from your own home.