Regardless of your current view on vaccines, when traveling to foreign countries sometimes it’s not a choice, and it’s definitely not just about your safety. Think back to outbreaks of smallpox and yellow fever. It usually starts with someone foreign showing up and then the disease runs rampant through the native population! Protect yourself and protect Cambodians that you will hopefully interact with because everyone is so friendly and at least consider these vaccines before you travel to Cambodia.
These vaccines you should have before any trip whether you’re leaving the country or not. There are some things you should always do before leaving the country and on the top of the list is seeing your general practitioner and telling them you’re leaving the country.
A practitioner will usually conduct a more thorough physical just to be sure that you won’t have any surprise medical issues arrive while you’re on vacation that could have been prevented before you left. A doctor can also review what risks you’ll take when drinking water or eating food in foreign countries. They will often have good advice on what to stay away from, and you should take it seriously!
A yellow fever certification is not required for entry into Cambodia, although it is a requirement for many other countries. If you come from a country that is high Yellow Fever risk your visa may be dependent on providing proof of a yellow fever vaccination. However, travelers from the United States and the UK do not need this vaccine.
You can, of course, discuss what options for yellow fever vaccination are best for you with your doctor. It is likely that they’ll say you don’t need it for traveling to Cambodia.
Hepatitis A spreads via contaminated food and water and is a risk in Cambodia even in the frequented tourist areas. Hepatitis A can also spread from a person’s hands which makes it even more important that you get vaccinated.
The disease attacks the liver and starts with stomach pain, yellowing of the skin, loss of appetite and tiredness. Any traveler who enters Cambodia is at risk, and there are not “standard practices” to avoid Hepatitis A the way that you can reasonably avoid Malaria. Good hygiene and hand sanitizer will not replace a vaccine in this case.
You’ll want to speak with your doctor about a Hepatitis A regime before you plan to travel because the shots must be given 6 months apart. Thankfully the vaccine is 100% effective which means there’s no reason to get Hepatitis A from traveling!
Typhoid, a terrible disease from contaminated food or water is a high-risk for those who travel to Cambodia. The CDC among other authorities on health and wellness encourage every traveler to get the Typhoid vaccine before leaving the country.
Anyone who visits smaller areas, rural regions or stays with friends, family or locals should get this vaccine. Those who only plan to frequent established restaurants (not street vendors) should think that they can get away without the Typhoid vaccine.
Nearly every American has had an initial rotation of Hepatitis B shots. As early as the mid-1980s these vaccines because normal to administer to infants because of the high risk of exposure in the United States. There’s no surprise that Cambodia is also an area where there is a risk of exposure to Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B spreads through blood contact which means that sharing needs, blood products or sexual contact can result in contracting the disease. A romantic vacation getaway can turn into a lifetime of struggle from this terrible disease. You should consult with your doctor about your records and ensure you’ve had the Hepatitis B vaccines.
If you haven’t heard of this before you’re not alone, those who travel to Cambodia for long periods of time are at risk of contracting Japanese Encephalitis because they spend more time in rural areas or small villages. The disease often affects those who spend a lot of time outdoors. So, if you’re planning on only being in Cambodia for a week or two, you probably don’t need this vaccine. However, if you’re going to travel throughout the small village circuit through the waterways or stay for months on end, you’ll need to get this vaccine. A doctor can help you make this decision based on your travel plans.
Rabies shots aren’t for everyone, but if you think that there’s the chance, you’ll interact with animals, especially dogs or bats you should go through the treatment. People working in very rural areas, or working outside should get a rabies shot, just in case. Additionally, if you plan on moving to Cambodia rather than just traveling on holiday, you will need a rabies shot.
Finally, if you’re taking children to Cambodia, they should definitely get a rabies shot. Children are notorious for both playing with animals and not telling people if they get bitten. Unreported bites that lead to rabies will cause irreversible damage. It’s not worth the risk of your child not telling you they were playing with a dog which you had already told them to leave alone.
One of the most common threats in Cambodia is Malaria. A disease which can be deadly, and travels through mosquitos. It is best to avoid mosquitos as much as possible by avoiding wet seasons when mosquitos are out most often and wearing long sleeves if at all tolerable.
Ideally, you won’t be bitten by a mosquito and will not get malaria. However, even with an outstanding bug spray and sleeping under netting, it’s possible for a mosquito to come up and snack on you without you noticing until it flows away.
Malaria treatments aren’t just one shot. In fact, vaccines for malaria are only part of the process to avoid and treat malaria. To avoid contracting malaria a doctor may prescribe you tablets to take two weeks before and two weeks after your vacation. It’s important to follow these regimens precisely. Otherwise, they may not work.