The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to the Philippines. It should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include other issues not mentioned here.
Most Common Health Issues
Travellers’ Diarrhoea, Giardia and Dysentery
Observe strict food and water safety precautions and hand hygiene. Consider taking a water filtering drink bottle and well stocked kit with guidelines for treatment. Seek medical advice or evacuation for persistent or severe illness, particularly for infants, the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.
Risk is variable depending on islands visited – some are malaria free, some only have risk in rural areas and others have widespread risk (particularly Palawan, Sulu and Mindanao). As well as avoidance of mosquito bites from dusk till dawn, the need for preventive medication should be discussed with one of our doctors.
Dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika
All preventable by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites, particularly during the daytime in urban areas. Zika is assumed to exist in low levels throughout Asia. Women contemplating pregnancy or already pregnant (and their partner) should seek specific advice about possible ramifications of travel to the Philippines.
This serious but rare mosquito borne illness occurs mainly in rural areas, particularly in the wet season. Vaccination is available for those at high risk.
Animal bites and wounds
Avoid being bitten or scratched by any mammal. Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination (well before travel) for extended trips or where contact with animals is likely. Whether pre-vaccinated or not, thoroughly flush/disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure vaccination and wound care.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Ensure adequate hydration, avoid prolonged periods in the sun and rest /cool down to treat. If severe seek medical attention.
Natural Disasters and Security Issues
Typhoon season occurs June to September and storms move east to west across the central/northern islands. Security and other travel issues are well documented on the Australian government’s smarttraveller website: smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/asia/south-east/Pages/philippines.aspx
As well as being up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B, the following vaccines are often recommended – Hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, cholera and influenza. Decisions regarding which are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age and underlying medical conditions.