Hygiene in the Tropics
Speaking of the tropics and health with friends is likely to attract a number of horror stories, which are often based on hearsay rather than personal experience.
Most expatriate families have survived their assignment in Asia without any major problems.
As the situation varies greatly from what you know from your home country you have to adjust to your new surroundings by taking up some precautions and follow our advice throughout your stay.
• Go easy in the beginning of your stay. Your body needs about 6 months for acclimatizing to the heat and the humidity.
• Remove your shoes when entering your home.
• Wash your hands often.
• Have several showers a day as sweat encourages fungus and rashes.
• Do not use the one and only towel and soap in public toilets.
• Wear light clothes out of cotton, or other natural fibers.
• Wear a hat or cap when in the sun, and use sun block lotion regularly.
• Wear shoes whenever you walk outside.
Food and Drink
• Have drinks only from sealed bottles; avoid having ice cubes in your drinks.
• Avoid ice cream, fresh salads, dishes with mayonnaise, cold meat, non-pasteurized milk products, raw eggs in dubious food outlets or at hawker stall where food cannot be kept cool properly.
• Fruits and vegetables: follow the rule: boil it, cook it, peel or forget it.
• Start carefully when trying out local food at hawker stalls.
• Boil water for drinking, cooking, tooth brushing for at least 20 minutes.
• Use built-in filters.
• Have the water tank on the roof in your home cleaned several times a year.
• Meet the vet on arrival and have all inoculations suggested done in the first few days.
• Get your pet de-wormed regularly.
• The pet’s sleeping area and feeding bowls have to be kept very clean and replaced regularly.
• There are many bugs ready to hop on your pet. You need to brush fur regularly, clean eyes, ears and check paws often. Bath the pet once in a while with a special soap against fleas.
• Take skin diseases serious when they occur and treat them at once. Check small wounds daily and treat them as to your vet advises.
• Make sure no toxins are used in the house and garden to kill pests as this may harm your pets.
• Always keep fresh water for your pet. Inquire about special pet taxis for emergencies.
• If you adopt a pet from a kennel or bring a pet in from the street, have it de-wormed, cleaned and checked by a vet first!