Chiang Mai has never had a high risk problem as the health care system of Thailand is extremely efficient and reliable. There are, however, a number of tropical diseases for which visiting tourists should take precautionary measures. Here is a list of some of the possible diseases every Thailand traveler should know about when health in Chiang Mai is concerned.
- Dehydration – The months of March, April and May are extremely hot, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Those who are not used to such high temperatures may feel uncomfortable and should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Try to avoid spicy food as well during this time and sip on plenty of rehydration drinks.
- Dengue Fever – With similar symptoms to malaria, Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes that thrive in stagnant pools of water in the urban cities. Dengue has been on the rise, especially in Southeast Asian countries because of the tropical climates. Risks are highest between the months of July and October where the rainy season is in full effect. Although there is no medical prevention available, the best way to avoid the bite of the mosquito is to slather yourself with mosquito and insect repellant and consistently reapply as needed.
- Drinking Water – Although tap water in Chiang Mai is apparently drinkable, it’s better for tourists to buy bottled water that is widely available and cheap. Refrain from drinking from mountain streams as they may be contaminated. Thais usually drink free water being offered in restaurants as they are safe for drinking but drink at your own risk if you are a tourist, since your digestive system may not be as inured as the locals’ to whatever possible threats exist there.
- Diarrhea – Getting diarrhea is a common mishap among non-Asians with the infamous “Bangkok Belly” being experienced by some tourists. This usually results from poor hygiene food preparation, too much chili in your food, contaminated water or unfamiliar herbs and spices. Anti-diarrhea medication is widely available in Chiang Mai. Keep well-rested and well-rehydrated for 24 hours and be on your feet in no time.
- Malaria – Chiang Mai is apparently malaria-free due to the high altitude of the northern Thailand region that makes it impossible for the virus to thrive. However, isolated cases did surface during the rainy season of 2010. Trips down the Mekong River to Laos and other lowland areas can put you at risk. Soxycycline is a recommended preventive medicine for most tourists visiting Thailand to avoid getting such diseases.
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries may occur in any event, time or place. Luckily, Chiang Mai boasts of the best doctors, medical staff and equipment when it comes to medical emergencies. The Chiang Mai Ram I is the best organized hospital in Chiang Mai while the Chiang Mai’s Lanna Hospital is best for those who have limited budgets. Although the latter is government-owned, it is clean, modern and well-managed without the hassle of waiting in long lines.
As long as precautionary practices have been exercised along with knowledge of the nearest hospitals and medical health care facilities in the city, tourists need not worry when health in Chiang Mai is concerned.