Sri Lanka is home to several tropical diseases unfamiliar to those living in more temperate and sanitary climates. However, with adequate preparation, the chances of serious mishap are small, especially now that malaria has been eradicated. And in the unlikely event you are taken ill, decent hospitals and pharmacies exist in most large towns, consultation fees and laboratory tests are relatively inexpensive, and doctors and pharmacists almost invariably speak good English. Commonly required medicines such as broad-spectrum antibiotics, painkillers and antihistamines are widely available, but anybody who has specific needs relating to a less common medical condition should bring the necessary treatment with them.
Sensible preparation will go a long way to ensuring your trip goes smoothly. Particularly for first-time visitors to Asia, this includes a visit to a travel clinic to discuss vaccinations. A full list of travel clinic websites worldwide is available at istm.org. For other journey preparation information, consult travelhealthpro.org.uk. Information about various medications may be found on NetDoctor. All advice found online should be used in conjunction with expert advice received prior to or during travel.
Sri Lanka is a remarkably safe country, with relatively low levels of crime and – now that the protracted civil war has drawn to a close – few security issues. Indeed, the main concerns for most travellers are probably road accidents associated with the manic local driving style, drowning in the ocean, and insect-borne diseases such as dengue fever.