India Health Care and Vaccinations

Title Special precautions
Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Yes

Rabies

Yes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

No*

* Any person (including infants over six months old) arriving by air or sea from an infected country must obtain a yellow fever certificate (includes passengers who have been transit in a country in the endemic zone). Meninggococcal vaccine is recommended for all travellers who intend to visit the states of Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the northeast of the country.

Good healthcare facilities, sometimes meeting Western standards, are available in all major cities, but facilities in rural areas are often limited. Travellers are strongly advised to take out full comprehensive medical insurance before departing for India. It is advisable to bring specific medicines from the UK. There are state-operated facilities in all towns and cities and private consultants and specialists in urban areas.

On leaving India: Visitors leaving for countries which impose health restrictions on arrivals from India are required to be in possession of a valid certificate of inoculation and vaccination.

Food and drink

Water for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should first be boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is often unpasteurised and should be boiled. Avoid dairy products likely to have been made from non-boiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Do not eat salads, vegetables should be cooked and peel your own fruit. Don’t eat street vendor food unless it is piping hot. Tap water is not safe to drink, rely on bottled water which is widely available. However, do check the seal on bottled water.

Other risks

Vaccinations are sometimes advised for hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, tuberculosis (for infants), polio and typhoid. Dengue and malaria are both caused by mosquito bites and are prevalent in hot and humid conditions. There are occasional, seasonal outbreaks of dengue fever. Travellers should vigilantly protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Malaria prevention is strongly recommended so use insect repellent and wear protective clothing. Obtain anti-malarial medicine from your doctor before travelling.

Even seasoned travellers may find themselves at the mercy of travellers’ diarrhoea. Hygiene standards vary. If possible, travel around with soap or antibacterial gel in order to clean your hands. The culprits that cause diarrhoea are often the microorganisms found in local water supplies, so decrease your chances by drinking bottled or boiled water. You can have alcoholic drinks but say no to ice. Drink carbonated beverages or those with only boiled water like coffee and tea.

Carry rehydration solution packets, Pepto Bismol or Imodium in case you are afflicted. Before your travel, seek medical advice about what to take for self-treatment.

Wear adequate sunscreen or do like the locals to beat the heat and avoid the sun between 1200 and 1600 when it is at its harshest; don a cotton kameez to keep covered and cool.

Note: All visitors aged between 18 and 70 years of age wishing to extend their visa for one year or more are required to take an AIDS test.

Edited by Jane Duru
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