Traveling to India:
If you would like to purchase a copy of the Lonely Planet guide to
India or South India click:
Health considerations according to Lonely Planet guide to South India:
“Predeparture Planning Immunizations: For some countries no immunizations are necessary,
but the further off the beaten track you go the more necessary it is to take precautions.
be aware that there is often a greater risk of disease with children and in pregnancy.
Plan ahead for getting your vaccinations: some of them require more than one injection,
while some vaccinations should not be given together. It is recommended you seek medical
advice at least six weeks before travel.
Record all vaccinations on an International Health Certificate, available from your doctor
or government health department.
Discuss your requirements with your doctor, but vaccinations you should consider for this trip include:
The most common travel-aquired illness after diarrhoea,
Hepatitis A can put you out of action for weeks. Havrix 1440 and VAQTA are vaccinations which provide
long term immunity (possibly more than 10 years) after an initial injection and a booster at
six to twelve months. Gamma globulin is a ready-made antibody collected from blood donations.
It should be given close to departure because, depending on the dose, it only protects for
two to six months.
A combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination, Twinrix, is also available.
This combined vaccination is recommended for people wanting protection against both types
of viral hepatitis. Three injections over a six-month period are required.
This is an important vaccination to have for travel to South India. It is available either as
an injection or oral capsules.
Diptheria & Tetanus:
Diptheria can be a fatal throat infection and tetanus can be a fatal wound infection.
Everyone should have these vaccinations. After an initial course of three injections,
boosters are necessary every 10 years.
This disease is spread by blood or by sexual activity. Travellers who should consider a
Hepatitis B vaccination include those visiting countries where there are known to be
many carriers, where blood transfusions may not be adequately screened
or where sexual contact is a possibility. It involves three injections,
the quickest course being over three weeks with a booster at 12 months.
Polio is a serious, easily transmitted disease, still prevalent in India.
Everyone should keep up to date with this vaccination.
A booster every 10 years maintains immunity.
There is no risk of becoming infected with yellow fever in South India,
but if you are arriving from a yellow-fever infected area
(certain countries in Africa and South America) you will need to prove
that you have had the jab.
Vaccination should be considered by those who will spend a month or longer in
South India, especially if they are cycling, handling animals, caving,
traveling to remote areas, or for children (who may not report a bite).
Pretravel rabies vaccination involves having three injections
over 21 to 28 days. If someone who has been vaccinated is bitten or scratched
by an animal they will require two booster injections of vaccine,
those not vaccinated require more.
This mosquito-borne disease is not common in travelers, but occurs in South India.
Consider the vaccination if spending a month or longer in a rural area,
making repeated trips to rural areas or visiting during an epidemic.
It involves three injections over 30 days. The vaccine is expensive
and has been associated with severe allergic reactions so the decision to have it
should be balanced against the risk of contracting the illness.
or closely associated with local people in rural South India, there may be some risk.
As most healthy adults do not develop symptoms, a skin test before and after travel
to determine whether exposure has occurred may be considered.
A vaccination is recommended for children living in these areas
for three months or more.
Antimalarial drugs do not prevent you from being infected but kill the malaris parasites
during a stage in their development and significantly reduce the risk of becoming
very ill or dying. Expert advice on medication should be sought, as there are many factors
To consider including the area to be visited, the risk of exposure to malaria-carrying mosquitoes,
the side effects of medication, your medical history and whether you are a child or adult
Or pregnant. Travelers to isolated areas in high-risk countries may like to carry a treatment
Dose of medication for use if symptoms occur.”
The above information is from Lonely Planet Guide to South India.
Regarding Antimalarial drugs, some of them are taken two weeks before, during
and 8 weeks after travel, therefore it is good to get a prescription from your doctor
at least two weeks before your trip.
Where I live, in southern Nevada USA, almost all of the above vaccines are given by
the County Health Department. Some of the Vaccines take more than one dose over a period
of time, so it is a good idea to visit your Health Department two or three months before
I get the Malaria pill prescription from my doctor.
I have made four trips to India, and so far I have always used Mefloquine
for the antimalarial drug. Pills that are taken once per week
beginning two weeks before the trip, during the trip and for 8 weeks after I am back home.
However, you have to check with your doctor to see which type of antimalarial
drug is currently best suited for the areas you will be traveling in, because mosquitos
develop resistance to various medications.
The Center For Disease control has some good information regarding diseases
and how to prevent them, click:
So many of the very dangerous diseases come from Mosquito bites.
There are pills to help prevent Malaria, however for some of the other diseases
there are no preventative pills. Therefore the key is not to get bit.
The recommendations for not getting bit by Mosquitos are:
#1. Wear a mosquito repellent containing DEET. The higher percentage of DEET
the more effective and longer lasting. 30% to 50% is recommended.
For information about DEET from the Mayo Clinic click:
#2. Spray your clothes (outside, not skin side) with permethrin (permanone)
following the manufactures instructions. Lasts for five clothes washings,
then spray again. Here is a bug repellent site:
#3. On my next trip to India I am going to take along a
Travel Tent Mosquito Bed Net, click:
The people who are in the Lodging business in India have no idea how to keep mosquitoes
out of the rooms. Even if you are lucky enough to stay in a room with screens on the windows,
someone from the hotel, maybe the cleaning person, will open that room door up for 30 minutes
or an hour or two hours and of course you will have mosquitoes in your room.
It does not matter if one pays US $10 for a room or US $100 for a room,
if the room is in India, there will be mosquitoes in the room.
#4. I have purchased a mosquito zapper in India. A light with electrocution coils.
#5. If you can avoid India during and after the rainy season, that helps with the
#6. Be sure and take Malaria prevention pills, following your doctors instructions.
#7. Wear light clothes. Mosquitoes prefer dark clothes.
#8. You can take along some mosquito candles or coils to burn in case you
want to have a nice view from your room balcony without being overly molested by
mosquitoes. I like OFF brand regarding mosquito repellents.
#9. Do not wear scents. The more perfume you have on, the more mosquitoes.
#10. Seal yourself in a glass box during your entire trip to India,
with a snorkel sticking through it to allow you to breath.
That should keep the mosquitoes off you – he he!
#11. All kidding aside, mosquitoes carry from very dangerous diseases.
So do all that you can.
My favorite way to purify water is the First Need water purifier click:
Sometimes I even run the Indian bottled drinking through the first need purifier
Before I drink it.
FOOD: The food served in Indian restaurants is usually at room temperature.
Thus the hygiene standards are very different between the United States restaurants
and Indian restaurants. In the United States the rule is: keep it cold, or keep it hot,
or throw it away. The food in an Indian restaurant may have been cooked hours ago,
and been allowed to sit at room temperature the whole time. The people of India
have some immunity to some of the bacteria that grows in the room temperature food,
however sometimes even they get sick from the food.
If you are from a country like the USA where the food is not allowed to sit at
room temperature, and is always served hot, you do not have a built up immunity
to the bacteria that grows in food served at room temperature.
One strategy you can use is to ask to have the food served very, very hot,
so hot that steam is rising from it. That might help a little.
Nowadays, I usually cook all of my own food when I go to India.
Hot plates can be purchased in India, and then one can go to the vegetable market
and buy fruits and vegetables.
Last trip to India, I was tired upon my arrival in Lucknow, so I decided to just
take a chance , and eat at the small hotel where I was staying.
Sure enough, I was vomiting all night.
However, later I did eat from time to time at another restaurant there in Lucknow,
I ordered some Chinese food and asked that it be served hot, very hot,
etc. and I never was sick from that food. So it is basically a hit and miss proposition.
The people in India who manage restaurants are not likely to know if they have served
food that has made a foreigner sick, because the foreigner may not say anything,
either because they are not sure which food at which restaurant caused the sickness,
or because they do not like to discuss such topics, or because they do not think that
mentioning it would do any good, since the people in the Restaurant business are not
likely to remodel their hygienic practices.
When I go to India, I carry very large suitcases and I pack a lot of food from home.
I like dole pineapple packed in its own juice for example (canned).
I stay in India for months when I go, so this food soon runs out,
However it makes the transition easier. Some foods you can bring from home
all you need to do is add hot water such as:
dried soups that come in paper cups, hot chocolate (wooo weee!) , oatmeal, etc.
I take many bottles of water i.e. Dasini or Aquafina or Sparkletts etc.
to ease the transition.
I find staying in the nicest, best, most modern Hotels or rooms that I can find,
condensed milk in a can made by Nestle, and top Raman noodles available in the stores.