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Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

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posts: 217
reviews: 19
Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

Can't buy antibiotics in UK but having suffered horrendously in Kenya for 3 weeks with nothing but Immodium have read that an antibiotic can be bought in SE Asia to treat TT when it occurs for more than 5/6 days. Someone else on the trip had tests when he got back and it was found to be a bacterial type.

As there is a Boots chemist in CM am hoping to buy one there as a deterrant, in the hope that having it will mean we won't suffer! But that if we did suffer would at least have something to help

Have read in Lonely Planet SE Asia guide that ciproflaxin, norfloxacin are two antibiotics suggested and azithromycin for bacterial type. Does anyone know if these are the ones and if they are sold 'over the counter' at Boots in CM?

Also can rehydration solutions be bought?

I'm not being overanxious but do not want to suffer again as I did in Kenya. It ruined the trip.

Thanks for any help in advance!

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Chiang Mai
posts: 9,022
reviews: 38
11. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

Our boys both got very ill in Krabi recently. The vomiting didn't stop and was really intense. We saw a doctor in Krabi who came to the hotel room and he gave them an antibiotic (plus maxalon by injection). I would be pretty hesitant to just start taking an antibiotic without seeing a doctor.

We buy the normal antibiotics over the counter in Thailand - for sore throats etc.

However with a stomach bug I would personally see a local doctor. The one we saw spent a long time explaining why he was using various meds and how some of the antibiotics were not suitable vs others that would work etc. He was very against using immodium for various reasons.

Interestingly we have only even got sick with stomach bugs in the South - never in the North. Not sure why.

Don't worry too much about this. Take normal precautions and if you do get sick it is easy to see a doctor and it also doesn't cost too much.


Bangkok, Thailand
posts: 11,719
reviews: 15
12. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

Ironically, although a stomach bug is often help with antibiotics, they do nothing for viruses, the cause of most sore throats.

Personally, I try Gastrol Bismol, Pepto Bismol, or whatever the local pink stuff is called. Charcoal tablets also can help. Both of these are more "therapeutic" than immodium, which simply plugs you up.

If it persists more than a day or so, then antibiotics may be in order. These can be bought, OTC, everywhere in Thailand.

But, a trip to a local hospital is dirt cheap in Thailand. This would be the wisest step, if the the Bismol or charcoal doesn't work.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai Region, Shenzhen, Bangkok
posts: 5,086
reviews: 109
13. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

@2crazy: do not ask them about their opinion. You know what you want. Ask for it.

Be aware, antibiotics will not get you back within a day, even if they work. Bit for sure they can support the process and that is good.

Perth, Australia
posts: 565
reviews: 85
14. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

Hi 2Crazy,

I understand your concern. I've had two trips to Thailand and have ended up in hospital both times with food poisoning. Once was for 2 days on a drip and the other time for 7 hours in emergency. The problem was, the treatment was so good that perhaps it was overkill? Each time they insisted on CAT scans and every other test you could imagine when, at least in the last instance, I think I would have been o.k. with just antibiotics.

My doctor actually did offer me some before I left but I declined. Next time I'll take her up on her offer and will also take the Dukorol, which she also offered.

By the way, I haven't been put off visiting Thailand by this. Am going again in June. Third time lucky!

All the very best for your trip. I hope you never have to use the medicine.


posts: 217
reviews: 19
15. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

Thanks everybody for your replies. Will take advice and if we do get TT will hopefully get to see a doctor if necessary. If it happens in Laos will have to keep our fingers crossed that we can get to see one there. But will ask in Chiang Mai at chemists anyway.

I'd rather be prepared. But as I said before we're not expecting to get ill but just covering the possibility!!

Thanks to all who have suffered in the past for your support and glad you weren't put off.

We ARE looking forward to our trip even if it doesn't sound like it here!

New York City, New...
posts: 1
16. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

Hello yes you can buy Ciprofloxin 500mg, norfloxacin and azithromycin typically in 250mg capsules in Chiang Mai no prescription necessary. There are many pharmacies in Chiang Mai and they all should have it, Some peope are allergic to fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as cipro and norfloxacin, and within the past few years there are reports of heightened risks of tendon ruptues from taking the aforementioned medicines. When I get TT I will take one 500mg. Cipro pill daily for two to three days and it has worked in the past. If you want to take Azithromycin take 500mg the first day then lower the dose to 250mg thereafter. If I remember correctly the Boots pharmacy is not too far from the night bazaar. But just about every pharmacy you see will have them. Buy the generic national brand by Siam Pharmacueticals they work well and you will save alot of money. Good Luck and enjoy your trip

Lismore, Australia
posts: 29
reviews: 2
17. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

I have just returned from Thailand where I was unfortunate to get a bacterial infection after eating a suspected off prawn. The pharmacy gave me Norfloxacin over the counter and charcoal tablets which worked a treat. Best to be prepared if you don't want to spoil your trip.We did not get any deadly disease injections just were diligent with insect repellents, drank bottled water and observed strict hygiene practices. Don't be over obsessive and enjoy your trip!

posts: 217
reviews: 19
18. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

Thanks for advice and dosage. Will definitely seek out Boots and ask for one of the antibiotics mentioned.

We too are prepared to be very careful with hygiene and repellants and will take eevery possible precaution not to get ill and have a brilliant trip.

Thanks everybody again for being so helpful and reassuring.

Edited: 6:04 am, December 26, 2012
Aspen, Colorado
posts: 2
19. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

What type of antibiotics did you take? I am on day 7 from getting sick in BA - now we are in Iguazu but I can't manage to go to the falls like this! I am going crazy! Thinking about trying Imodium today....

20. Re: Buying antibiotics for Travellers Tummy!!

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