Sri Lanka is a tropical county and requires certain medical considerations should you be holidaying. The following information given to you is intended as a helpful guide. Prior to your departure however, we suggest that you visit your local medical centre or a specialist travel health centre for advice with regard to vaccinations, malaria and dengue prevention, and any underlying health concerns.
Malaria & Dengue Prevention
Anti-Malarial drugs should only be considered if only you are travelling to the far north of the country. Dengue fever is present, especially after monsoon rains and it is important that you are protected from being bitten by mosquitoes by using mosquito repellent.
Travel insurance is definitely recommended as things can go wrong with your holiday anywhere in the world.
Ideal things to be along on your holiday to Sri Lanka include your sun screen, insect repellent, hat, long sleeved, full-length light-coloured thin cotton clothes, sandals, several pairs of socks etc. Please ensure that you bring clothing that will help protect you from the mid-day sun and from biting insects as well. Drinking water is available freely all over Sri Lanka so there is little to worry about. Do not also forget to bring to bring any regular medication, anti-diarrheal medicines, simple pain relief, torch etc.
Avoiding diarrhea and dehydration:
Sri Lanka is a country where tourism has been a central part of its national interest and as a result, has a great hygiene record in comparison to other South Asian destinations. However, in order to be doubly careful, we recommend that you always wash your hands before meals and eat freshly cooked, piping hot food. You should also ensure that you only drink bottled, boiled or treated water. Please avoid ice and salad if you are not highly confident of hygiene standards.
For Travellers, diarrhea may last for up to five days and will subside on its own accord untreated. Reasons may vary from stress, an increase in alcohol intake to change in diet and hot weather. It usually occurs towards the latter part of the first week of your arrival and lasts three to five days. The most important thing is that you keep yourself well hydrated. So ensure that you drink plenty of clear fluids, keep cool and out of the sun. It’s important however that you seek medical care if symptoms do not improve within a few days, blood and/or mucous is present in stools, or if a fever develops. Medical care is a must for those with special health risks including the elderly, and children whose diarrhea is accompanied by dehydration, vomiting, fever or bloody stools.
You should stay away from street dogs around Sri Lanka as rabies is a possible risk. In the event that you are bitten at any time, please seek immediate medical advice. Another important thing to remember is that it is not just dogs that can carry rabies, cats, monkeys and bats can do as well.
Other bites and stings:
Other biting animals found in Sri Lanka include a wide range of snakes, sea creatures, spiders and scorpions. If you are bitten or stung at any time, try to remember what the animal looked like: its colour, size, shape and markings. This will help with your treatment. Snakes usually keep away from humans. If you are ever bitten, immediately restrict movement of the limb as much as possible, cover the area with a clean, dry bandage but do not apply a tourniquet, remain calm and try to get to the nearest hospital immediately.
Sri Lanka as some amazing beaches but one has to be aware that strong currents may exist in some areas. The West and South Coast are amazing for swimming only during the season from December to April and the east coast from May to October. You also should be careful as despite it being the season, some coastal areas may not suitable for swimming due to reefs and strong currents.
Please discuss any special requirements in advance with your doctor and us. We will ensure that your accommodation is appropriate for you and that the tour is done in a way that enables you to get the maximum from your time in Sri Lanka.
Emergency Medical Services in Sri Lanka
In case of an accident or a medical emergency while on holiday, go directly to the emergency department of the closest private or government hospital and you will be seen by an emergency physician.
Hospitals in Colombo
Asiri Central Hospital
114 Norris Canal Road, Colombo 10.
Tel +94 (0) 11 466 5500
181 Kirula Road, Narahenpita, Colombo 5.
Tel +94 (0) 11 452 3300
578 Elvitigala Mawatha, Narahenpita, Colombo 5.
Tel +94 (0) 11 553/543 0000
3 Alfred Place, Colombo 3
Tel +94 (0)11 5410 000)
Deshamanya, H.K. Dharmadasa Mw, Colombo 2
Tel: +94(0) 11 2304444
Asiri Hospital (has emergency and pediatric facilities)
191 Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Matara
Tel +94 (0) 41 439 0820-8
Lakeside Adventist Hospital
40 Sangaraja Mawatha, Kandy
Tel: +94 (0) 81 2223-466, 2234-605, 4471-668, 2223-466, 2234-605
Peradeniya General Hospital
Tel: +94 (0) 812388001, 2388002