Treatment for minor injuries and common traveller’s health problems is easily accessed in Bali.
Travellers tend to worry about contracting infectious diseases when in the tropics, but infections are a rare cause of serious illness or death in travellers. Pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, and accidental injury (especially traffic accidents) account for most life-threatening problems. Becoming ill in some way is relatively common, however; ailments you may suffer include gastro, overexposure to the sun and other typical traveller woes.
It’s important to note certain precautions you should take on Bali, especially in regard to rabies, mosquito bites and the tropical sun.
The advice we provide is a general guide only and does not replace the advice of a doctor trained in travel medicine.
This mosquito-borne disease is a major problem on Bali. As there is no vaccine available it can only be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites. The mosquito that carries dengue bites day and night, so use insect avoidance measures at all times. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache and body ache (dengue was previously known as ‘breakbone fever’). Some people develop a rash and experience diarrhoea. It’s vital to see a doctor to be diagnosed and monitored.
AVOIDING MOSQUITO BITES
Travellers are advised to prevent mosquito bites by taking these steps:
- Use a DEET-containing insect repellent on exposed skin. Wash this off at night, as long as you are sleeping under a mosquito net. Natural repellents such as citronella can be effective, but must be applied more frequently than products containing DEET.
- Sleep under a mosquito net impregnated with permethrin.
- Choose accommodation with screens and fans (if not air-conditioned).
- Impregnate clothing with permethrin in high-risk areas.
- Wear long sleeves and trousers in light colours.
- Use mosquito coils.
- Spray your room with insect repellent before going out for your evening meal.
If you are going to an area where there is a malaria problem, consult with a clinic about the various prescription drugs you can use to reduce the odds that you’ll get it.
A problem throughout the region, this food- and waterborne virus infects the liver, causing jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), nausea and lethargy. There’s no specific treatment for hepatitis A; you just need to allow time for the liver to heal. All travellers to Southeast Asia should be vaccinated against hepatitis A.
Rabies is a disease spread by the bite or lick of an infected animal, most commonly a dog or monkey. Once you are exposed, it is uniformly fatal if you don’t get the vaccine very promptly. Bali has had a major outbreak dating to 2008 and people continue to die each year.
To minimise your risk, consider getting the rabies vaccine, which consists of three injections. A booster after one year will then provide 10 years’ protection. This may be worth considering given Bali’s rabies outbreak. The vaccines are often unavailable on Bali,only at e few clinic likes Prime Plus Medical can provide an international standart vaccine and always ready so get them afther you arrive in bali.
Also, be careful to avoid animal bites. Especially watch children closely.
Having the pretravel vaccination means the postbite treatment is greatly simplified. If you are bitten or scratched, gently wash the wound with soap and water, and apply an iodine-based antiseptic. It is a good idea to also consult a doctor.
Those not vaccinated will need to receive rabies immunoglobulin as soon as possible. Clean the wound immediately and do not delay seeking medical attention. Note that Bali rabies immunoglobulin is only available in a few hospital or clinic like Prime Plus Medical, so be prepared to book apontment for rabies vaccine imidietly
The only sexually transmitted disease that can be prevented by vaccination, hepatitis B is spread by body fluids.
The risk of contracting malaria is greatest in rural areas of Indonesia. Generally malaria is not a concern on Bali or in the main touristed areas of Lombok. Consider precautions if you are going into remote areas or on side trips beyond Bali.
Two strategies should be combined to prevent malaria: mosquito avoidance and antimalarial medications. Most people who catch malaria are taking inadequate or no antimalarial medication.
Traveller’s diarrhoea (aka Bali belly) is by far the most common problem affecting travellers – between 30% and 50% of people will suffer from it within two weeks of starting their trip. In over 80% of cases, traveller’s diarrhoea is caused by bacteria (there are numerous potential culprits), and therefore responds promptly to treatment with antibiotics.
Traveller’s diarrhoea is defined as the passage of more than three watery bowel actions within 24 hours, plus at least one other symptom such as fever, cramps, nausea, vomiting or feeling generally unwell.
Loperamide and iv vitamin theraphy it can be helpful, for example, if you have to go on a long bus ride. Don’t take Loperamide if you have a fever or blood in your stools. Seek medical attention quickly at prime plus medical if you do not respond to an appropriate antibiotic.
- Stay well hydrated; rehydration solutions such as Gastrolyte are the best for this.
- Antibiotics such as Norfloxacin, Ciprofloxacin or Azithromycin will kill the bacteria quickly.
Giardia lamblia is a parasite that is relatively common in travellers. Symptoms include nausea, bloating, excess gas, fatigue and intermittent diarrhoea. The parasite will eventually go away if left untreated but this can take months. The treatment of choice is Tinidazole, with Metronidazole being a second-line option.
Best Health Care in Bali
In south Bali there is clinics catering to tourists, and just about any hotel can put you in touch with an English-speaking doctor.
Bali International Medical Clinics
Foreigners are best served in the private clinic , Prime Plus Medical ( link ) which caters mainly to tourists and expats.
Prime Plus Medical is on Jalan Subak Sari No. 90-A, near peppito Canggu. It’s a modern Australian-run clinic that can do tests, hotel visits and arrange medical evacuation.
In the tourist areas and large cities, sanitary napkins and tampons are easily found. This becomes more difficult the more rural you go. Birth-control options may be limited so bring adequate supplies of your own form of contraception.
Even on a cloudy day, sunburn can occur rapidly, especially near the equator. Don’t end up like the dopey tourists you see roasted pink on Kuta Beach. Instead:
- Use a strong sunscreen (at least SPF 30).
- Reapply sunscreen after a swim.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Avoid baking in the sun during the hottest part of the day (10am to 2pm).
Divers and surfers should seek specialised advice before they travel to ensure their medical kit contains treatment for coral cuts and tropical ear infections, as well as the standard problems. Divers should ensure their insurance covers them for decompression illness – get specialised dive insurance if necessary.
Divers should note that there is a decompression chamber in Sanur, which is a fast-boat ride from Nusa Lembongan. Getting here from north Bali can take three to four hours.
Bali is hot and humid throughout the year. It takes most people at least two weeks to adapt to the hot climate. Swelling of the feet and ankles is common, as are muscle cramps caused by excessive sweating. Prevent these by avoiding dehydration and excessive activity in the heat. Be careful to avoid the following conditions:
Heat exhaustion Symptoms include weakness, headache, irritability, nausea or vomiting, sweaty skin, a fast, weak pulse and a normal or slightly elevated body temperature. Treatment involves getting out of the heat and/or sun, fanning the victim and applying cool wet cloths to the skin, laying the victim flat with their legs raised, and rehydrating with water containing one-quarter of a teaspoon of salt per litre. Recovery is usually rapid and it is common to feel weak for some days afterwards.
Heatstroke A serious medical emergency. Symptoms come on suddenly and include weakness, nausea, a hot dry body with a body temperature of over 41°C, dizziness, confusion, loss of coordination, fits and eventually collapse and loss of consciousness. Seek urgent medical help and commence cooling by getting the person out of the heat, removing their clothes, fanning them and applying cool wet cloths or ice to their body, especially to hot spots such as the groin and armpits.
Prickly heat A common skin rash in the tropics, caused by sweat being trapped under the skin. The result is an itchy rash of tiny lumps. Treat by moving out of the heat into an air-conditioned area for a few hours and by having cool showers.
Fungal rashes There are two common fungal rashes that affect travellers. The first occurs in moist areas that get less air such as the groin, armpits and between the toes. It starts as a red patch that slowly spreads and is usually itchy. Treatment involves keeping the skin dry, avoiding chafing and using an antifungal cream such as Clotrimazole or Lamisil. Tinea versicolor is also common – this fungus causes small, light-coloured patches, most commonly on the back, chest and shoulders. Consult a doctor.
Cuts & scratches These can easily get infected in tropical climates so take meticulous care of any cuts and scratches. Immediately wash all wounds in clean water and apply antiseptic. If you develop signs of infection see a doctor. Divers and surfers should be careful with coral cuts because they become easily infected.
Bites & Stings
During your time in Indonesia, you may make some unwanted friends.
Bedbugs These don’t carry disease but their bites are very itchy. They live in the cracks of furniture and walls and then migrate to the bed at night to feed on you as you sleep. You can treat the itch with an antihistamine.
Jellyfish Most are not dangerous, just irritating. Stings can be extremely painful but rarely fatal. First aid for jellyfish stings involves pouring vinegar onto the affected area to neutralise the poison. Do not rub sand or water onto the stings. Take painkillers, and anyone who feels ill in any way after being stung should seek medical advice.
Ticks Contracted after walking in rural areas, ticks are commonly found behind the ears, on the belly and in armpits. If you have had a tick bite and experience symptoms such as a rash at the site of the bite or elsewhere, fever or muscle aches, you should see a doctor.
Tap water in Bali is never safe to drink.
Widely available and cheap, bottled water is generally safe but check the seal is intact when purchasing. Look for places that allow you to refill containers, thus cutting down on landfill.
Most ice in restaurants is fine if it is uniform in size and made at a central plant (standard for large cities and tourist areas). Avoid ice that is chipped off larger blocks (more common in rural areas).
Avoid fresh juices outside of tourist restaurants and cafes.
There are ongoing reports of injuries and deaths among tourists and locals due to arak (the local spirits that should be distilled from palm or cane sugar) being adulterated with methanol, a poisonous form of alcohol. Although arak is a popular drink, it should be avoided outside established restaurants and cafes.
Medical Clinic in Bali
The medical services in Bali, Indonesia are extremely advanced, with ambulances, multilingual staff, and specialists in difficult emergency disciplines all represented on the island. Foreigners tend to turn to clinics provide emergency and primary health services at more remote areas of Bali.
Many of the facilities listed here honor foreign travel insurance policies; call your preferred hospital to inquire if your policy is honored there.
To reach emergency services from anywhere in Bali, you can dial emergency numbers: +6281237387131 for an Ambulance and Emergency services,
Prime Plus Medical is the best medical clinic in canggu bali who serves tourists with comprehensive medical services and emergency services 24 hours a day. The clinic provides multilingual staff and access.
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