Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sick Like A Dog

I am under the weather now for the second day.  I have congested head, sore throat and I feel generally terrible.  Seems like a perfect time to talk about health related issues in Vietnam.

When I first arrived here, I did not feel well often and the food disagreed with me.  During this time the WC and I became very good friends.  Within a couple of months I had become fully acclimated to the environment here and feel fine most of the time.

A few pieces of advice for travelers here: bring hand sanitizer and plenty of Imodium, clean chopsticks and bowls with sanitizer and paper napkins (not the wet towelettes found throughout the country; they are supposedly "cleaned" and re-packaged. The paper is more sanitary), and wipe glass bottle tops before drinking (the rims may not be sufficiently clean).  Most of the other things should be common sense.

Many medicines that would require a prescription in the States are available here at the pharmacy without prescription.  Therefore practice due diligence when taking medicine from the pharmacy to ensure it will not react with you adversely and that you are comfortable with the safety of the medicine you plan to take.  Also, many medicines are not redially available so bring plenty of required prescription drugs with you (this goes the same for vitamins and supplements).

If you astigmatic and wear contact lenses bring plenty of extra lenses as you will be very hard pressed to find your lenses here (I have astigmatism and I have not yet found an optical shop who carries my lenses- if you know one please tell me!).  This is not true for non-astigmatic contact lens wearers; non-astigmatic contacts can be found here very easily.  Prices are around 10 usd for a pair of disposable lenses (lifetime of lens greater than 2 weeks but unknown).

In HCMC we now have a fantastic hospital known as Nha Thuong Viet Phap or FrancoViet Hospital.  They can perform the same services as the hospitals in the states.  They have foreign trained doctors who all speak English and French and offer outstanding service.  The prices are reasonable by western standards (about 25 usd for a doctor visit) and I have had very good experiences there.  If you are in Saigon and need a doctor, this is the only place I would recommend going.

Hopefully you found the above useful.  I am feeling bad so I'm going to rest now and maybe I'll feel better. Tam biet.

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