At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 115 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Health care in the cities is adequate for minor injuries. More complicated treatment may require evacuation to another country. Healthcare in rural areas is extremely basic. Many hospitals require guarantees of payment before they’ll start treatment. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Complete the next of kin details in the back of your passport.
Some rice wines sold without recognised brand names have been found to have very high and sometimes fatal levels of methanol.
There have been reports of synthetic marijuana use causing psychotic episodes and hospitalisation.
UK health authorities have classified Vietnam as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Dengue fever is prevalent in the summer/wetter months. The majority of cases are in southern Vietnam, but there were higher than normal infections in Northern Vietnam, in particular Hanoi, in 2017 and sensible precautions taken throughout the country. You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
There have been outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Vietnam but the risk to humans is low. Risks can be mitigated by avoiding visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds, and making sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
If you’re taking prescription medication into Vietnam, carry it in your hand-luggage with a copy of the prescription. If it has a total import value greater than US$100, you should declare it at customs. Some specific medicines can be hard to find in Vietnam and many medications on sale are counterfeit.
Vietnam has restrictions on medicines which it classifies as “addictive” or “psychotropic” medicine. These include medicine that can be used for the treatment of addiction, to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia and other conditions. The rules say that you must not have more than the quantity prescribed by a doctor for 7 days (addictive medicine) or 10 days (psychotropic medicine). The prescription should be in English or Vietnamese and include your name and age and list the name, volume and dosage of the medicine(s). It must also include the doctor’s signature or address. If you’re unsure if your medication falls within these categories or if you need to bring in more medication than is usually allowed you should contact the Vietnamese Embassy in advance of travelling.