Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Welcome to India, traveler: Vaccination & health tips

Are you an NRI visiting India after a long time?
Or are you a tourist wanting to see the some of the most beautiful history in the world?
Please come to see the Taj Mahal, Forts of Rajasthan, Ajanta & Ellora caves, beaches of Goa & Kerala & so much more!
But before you reach here please remember to check with your pediatrician as to the status of the following vaccines for your kids.
Hepatitis A vaccination (Avaxim, Havrix, Travel shot) is recommended for both adults as well as kids traveling to India. The first dose of hepatitis A vaccine should be administered at least 2 (and preferably 4) weeks prior to departure. The first dose of the hepatitis A vaccine series provides rapid protection against hepatitis A. Travelers should complete the vaccine series as recommended to ensure long-term protection, using an accelerated schedule if necessary. 
Typhoid vaccination is also a good idea since it is transmitted by contaminated food & water.
Both typhoid & hepatitis A vaccines are NOT routinely given in the US and other developed countries but these diseases are very common in India and other developing countries.
It is assumed here that your child is already on a regular vaccination schedule featuring DPT, Hib, Hepatitis B, MMR vaccines and may even have received optional vaccines like Chicken Pox etc. 
Yellow fever vaccine is NOT required unless you are coming from a yellow fever endemic countrylike the Sub-sahara africa or Central America. India does not have yellow fever.
Cholera vaccine may be needed if there is an ongoing cholera epidemic in the area you wish to travel (generally cholera occurs in the monsoons months of June to September in epidemic form, transmitted by unclean water). Japanese Encephalitis maybe indicated only in special situations like epidemics, while Rabies vaccine maybe taken if likely exposure to animals. 
Remember that all vaccines should be ideally taken at least 4-6 weeks before travelling for maximum effect

Malaria prophylaxis should be started before arriving in India and continued after reaching back. Use personal mosquito repellants creams (containing DEET), mosquito nets, insect sprays and electronic repellants in malaria endemic region. Not only will these protect you from Malaria but also Dengue, Filaria and Japanese encephalitis as well.
Common tips for the visitor:
  • Drink bottled water of reputed brands like Bisleri, Aquafina, etc.
  • Packaged fruit juices & cold drinks maybe consumed.
  • Avoid cut fruits, tap water, spicy food, roadside vendors, ice cubes, fountain drinks even with all the temptation to just ‘taste’ the local delicacy.
  • In case bottled water is unavailable carry 1 micron filter, and iodine tablets for purifying the water.
  • Carry vomiting medications like Metaclopramide (Perinorm)/ Ondansetron (Emeset); ORS solutions; Abdominal pain medications like Meftal spas, and antibiotics for traveller’s diarrhea ‘delhi belly’ like Ciprofloxacin while traveling to remote tourist spots. In bigger towns almost all these medicinces are easily available over the counter.
  • While in hot tropical areas consume lot of fluids to avoid heat stroke, stay in the shade, use sunscreens and hats and sunglasses.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants to prevent insect bites
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • Carry all your prescription medicines, and the prescription too

Once again all travelers coming to our beautiful India Namaste, Dhanyavad plus have a safe and enjoyable trip!  

See latest CDC information on travel to india

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey thanks was looking to visit india, now a visit to pediatrician must before confirming tickets.