Before you go
The last thing you want to discover the week before your flight to Indonesia is that you needed to have had a vaccination against Hepatitis A four weeks ago. It is important to consult a travel clinic in advance, who will be able to inform you of, and provide you with, all the necessary medication you need to take before you travel. To prevent last-minute panics, it’s a good idea to start getting vaccinations organised a couple of months in advance.
Here are some of the precautions and vaccinations needed, although bear in mind this list is not exhaustive and you should consult a specialist for complete, up-to-date requirements and personalised advice:
- Malaria medication - for more rural areas.
- Hepatitis A - recommended for all travellers, to be given two to four weeks before departure
- Hepatitis B - make sure your vaccination is up-to-date
- Typhoid - recommended for all travellers not restricting their eating and drinking to major city restaurants
- Japanese encephalitis - recommended especially for more rural areas. A series of injections is given four weeks before departure.
- Rabies - recommended for those likely to spend a lot of time outdoors or likely to come into contact with potentially infected animals. A series of injections is given four weeks before departure.
- Tetanus-diptheria - A booster is recommended for those not vaccinated in the last ten years
- Yellow fever - required for those arriving from countries where yellow fever is present
Precautions whilst there
Food and water precautions are important, as Indonesia’s tap water is not safe to drink. Water should have been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected, and avoid drinking beverages with ice. It’s also recommended to avoid unpasteurised milk, and raw, undercooked food or food that is not served piping hot. Traveller’s diarrhea may occur, in which case appropriate medication and hydration is key; seek medical attention if it is severe or persistent, however.
Protecting yourself against insect bites is recommended, especially in more rural areas where malaria is present (specialised clinics should be able to provide you with malaria maps, showing areas of risk). Nets, repellents, long-sleeves and creams can all help in the fight against mosquitoes. Tempting as it may be, avoid scratching, and keep an eye out for any infected bites.
Arming yourself with a basic first-aid kit is a good preparation, particularly for the first few days and weeks, as you find your feet, and your local pharmacy.