On a trip or a vacation in Thailand, one thing you might not think about are allergies. Unsurprisingly though, thousands of tourists every year have allergic reactions while on a trip to Thailand, whether it’s the food, the heat or the environment. If you’re one of those people susceptible to allergies, make sure you’re prepared and know what to avoid before you arrive in Thailand.
Skin Allergies – One thing you may find you develop in Thailand is a skin allergy. I’ve never had a skin allergy in my life but, after a couple of weeks of Bangkok’s intense heat and humidity, I found myself with an itchy, raised and red rash all the way around my waist. When I visited a Thai doctor freaked out by the rash, he told me this type of allergy is actually quite common in Thailand, with people who aren’t used to continual heat and humidity. It’s nothing to worry about, just itchy and annoying.
I was prescribed an anti-bacterial cream, which I applied three times a day and it was gone by the end of the week.
If you find yourself allergic to the heat you can visit a Thai doctor or just buy an anti-bacterial cream over the counter at any Thai pharmacy, and that should do the trick.
Peanut Allergies – If you’re allergic to peanuts, you need to be careful what you eat in Thailand. Peanuts are an ingredient in many Thai foods – Pad Thai, peanut candy, curries, in fried rice, served with rice dishes etc – and, if you’re deathly allergic, you really could die if you eat the wrong thing.
If you do have a peanut allergy, in any restaurant in Thailand for every dish you order, simply ask “Mee tuaa my?” (does it have peanuts?). Or ask the reception staff at your hotel to write the Thai phrase for “I have a severe peanut allergy so cannot eat food with peanuts” on a piece of paper. You can then show this paper at every restaurant you eat at.
There is also a wonderful list of Thai phrases for people with allergies, available on a Thai language site. Print this out before you come to Thailand and you should have few problems.
Thais are kind, helpful people so once they know you’re allergic to something they will never knowingly serve it to you.Food Allergies – For food allergies other than peanuts, see the food allergy Thai language list link at the bottom of this article. It will really help you make sure you don’t order food with ingredients you might be allergic to, and could save your life.
Pollution Allergies – If you spend any time in Bangkok, you may discover you’re allergic to the pollution, which is excessive. Being allergic to the dirt in the air can cause you to have breathing problems, a stuffed up or runny nose. or just a constant feeling of heaviness, tiredness and a headache.Buy a nose and mouth mask, which you can get at just about any Thai pharmacy, and wear that when you’re outside. It won’t help a lot, but it will at least prevent some of the larger particles in the air getting into your lungs.
If however you find yourself severely impacted by the pollution, you’ll have to take taxis or the sky train or underground everywhere and spend most of your time in air conditioned shopping malls and restaurants (which actually isn’t a hardship, as they’re lovely and everywhere).
If You Suffer a Severe Allergic Reaction – At any point on your trip to Thailand, if you suffer a severe allergic reaction to anything, go immediately to a Thai hospital.Medical care in Thailand, particularly in the big cities, is excellent and cheap. Also you will find, if you’re a foreigner and obviously ill, you will get treatment just about quicker than anyone once you get to the hospital. Don’t avoid the hospital, thinking it will cost you an arm and a leg like in America. It won’t, and the treatment is western-standard.
If you have allergies, upon arrival in Thailand, get the name and address of the closest hospital to your hotel written down in Thai (the hotel receptionist will be more than happy to oblige). That way, if you do have a problem, you can immediately hop in a taxi and go for medical treatment.Remember, Thais are the world’s loveliest people. If at any point, you’re feeling ill from allergies or otherwise, ask someone to help you. They invariably will.