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Indian Health Care and Vaccinations

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.

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.

All travelers

You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel.

Routine vaccines

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measlesmumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Most travelers


Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting.

Hepatitis A

CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in India, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

Typhoid

You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in India. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

Some travelers

Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US.

Hepatitis B

You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
Malaria

Talk to your doctor about how to prevent malaria while traveling. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, especially if you are visiting lowaltitude areas. See more detailed information about malaria in India.

Japanese Encephalitis

You may need this vaccine if your trip will last more than a month, depending on where you are going in India and what time of year you are traveling. You should also consider this vaccine if you plan to visit rural areas in India or will be spending a lot of time outdoors, even for trips shorter than a month. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans. See more in-depth information on Japanese encephalitis in India.

Rabies

Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in India, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:

  • • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving) that put them at risk for animal bites.
  • • People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers).
  • • People who are taking long trips or moving to India
  • • Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever in India. The government of India requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US. If you are traveling from a country other than the US, check this list to see if you may be required to get the yellow fever vaccine: Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission.

For more information on recommendations and requirements, see yellow fever recommendations and requirements for India. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans.

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 nonboiled 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.

Eat and drink safely

Unclean food and water can cause travelers' diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.

Eat

  • • Food that is cooked and served hot
  • • Hard-cooked eggs
  • • Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself
  • • Pasteurized dairy products

Don't Eat 

  • • Food served at room temperature
  • • Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs
  • • Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish
  • • Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
  • • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • • ”Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)

Drink 

  • • Bottled water that is sealed
  • • Water that has been disinfected
  • • Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
  • • Carbonated drinks
  • • Hot coffee or tea
  • • Pasteurized milk

Don’t Drink 

  • • Tap or well water
  • • Ice made with tap or well water
  • • Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
  • • Unpasteurized milk

Take Medicine

Talk with your doctor about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs with you on your trip in case you get sick.

 

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