Pharmacies are extremely common in Thailand’s urban centres, but are rarer in rural areas.
There are many medications which are unavailable without a prescription in Western countries, but which may be bought over the counter at a Thai pharmacy.
Many Thai pharmacists speak English and pharmacies are open until late into the night, with some 24-hour pharmacies operating in cities like Bangkok. Pharmacies can also be found attached to many hospitals.
Thailand presents some health hazards. In some areas there is a risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, malaria and dengue fever. Expats should consider taking malaria tablets and should also avoid mosquito bites by sleeping under a mosquito net and wearing trousers and long-sleeved shirts. Apart from mosquitoes, care should be taken to avoid typhoid, which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.
Otherwise, a further health risk is the high level of air pollution in some Thai cities such as Bangkok, which can aggravate respiratory conditions.
Emergency transport facilities in Thailand are not yet fully developed and response times in urban areas are greatly frustrated by levels of traffic. Practically, this means that it might be faster for expats to make their own way to treatment facilities.
When contacting an ambulance, expats may experience language barrier issues, as government emergency service operators don’t necessarily speak English. There are private ambulances that cater to English speakers and some private hospitals operate their own ambulances.
The medical emergency service number is 1669, while 191 will contact the police, while 1155 is an emergency number dedicated to helping foreigners in Thailand.