Health Travel

Top 7 Health Concerns For Travel to India

Have you thought of immunizations and vaccinations for travel to India? Tourism in India is on the rise. The Incredible India campaign is getting everyone – foreigners and Indians alike – excited about visiting many tourist places in India.

However, travellers should be aware of health issues and concerns in India. Tourists can be prone to many illnesses in India including diarrhoea, malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, hepatitis and typhoid. Tetanus injections and shots for travel to India are very important before travelling to India.

Travellers must understand how vaccinations work, whether travelling to the capital city of New Delhi, lush green Kerala, seaside Goa, or the dessert of Jaipur.
India presents a high risk of food-borne, water-borne and other infectious diseases such. “We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling,” says a travel advice by the Australian government.

“We recommend you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water; avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.”

Here are the top five vaccinations or shots you need for Travel to India:

Malaria: Malaria is a common illness in most cities of India. Malaria is caused by mosquitos breeding in stagnant water. The risk is especially high during the  monsoon months of May to November.  There are other mosquito-borne diseases such as chikungunya fever and filariasis. Malaria is a bacterial disease and effective shot is prophylaxis. Check with your doctor. Even with vaccination, travellers should protect themselves from mosquitos. A common mosquito repellent in India is Odomos. Alternatively, avoid mosquito-prone areas. Wear loose, light-coloured clothes.

Typhoid: This is a bacterial disease transmitted through water or food. There’s oral or needle vaccination available. It can be treated with antibiotics.Hepatitis A and B: This is a virus and it affects the liver. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and hepatitis A through contaminated water and food. Fortunately there is vaccination available for both Hepatitis A and B with one shot.

Diarrhea: This is very common among foreign travellers, and is often described informally as Delhi belly. Mostly contaminated water or food causes diarrhea. It can also be caused by spicy Indian food. Make sure you have oral rehydration salts with you, or you can buy them from a local chemist. A common brand of oral rehydration is Electrol, or ask a doctor. You can also take anti-diarrhea medicine like Immodium. Buy your drinking water bottle from a good shop and check that the seal on the bottle is not broken. Eat freshly cooked food. Avoid ice cubes.

Dengue fever: There is seasonal outbreak of dengue fever in New Delhi and other parts of the country. Unfortunately there’s no effective vaccination available because dengue is a virus. Avoidance is the best cure. Use a mosquito repellent with DEET.

Japanese encephalitis: This is a mosquito-borne disease and its most reported cases are found in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Many countries have vaccinations for Japanese encephalitis. Check with your GP.

Tetanus: Tetanus is also a bacterial illness transmitted through animal faeces. Though less common, tetanus very uncomfortable.  Travellers should immunize with vaccination.

Avian influenza: The risk of avian influenza is high for long-term travellers, not so much for brief visitors. It is important to take influenza antiviral medicine under medical supervision.

Many foreigners and Indians also visit India for medical tourism, which is a form of visit with the intention of undergoing medical treatment in India which is mostly cheaper. Travellers must do their research before receiving treatment from a medical facility in India. While the country has some of the best medical and hospital facilities, there are many medical treatment providers which offer very poor quality treatment.

If the treatment results in health complications in India, the cost of revacuation can be very high. “Medical evacuation costs could total in excess of AU$300,000 depending on circumstances,” says the Australian government website.
Also, if a traveller develops adverse symptoms on return to their home country, they have little recourse against the overseas treatment provider.

This advice is for information and should not be used in place of medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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