Vaccines and Precautions for a safe trip to India A European or American traveler who wants to travel to India today is not obliged to carry out any type of vaccination. Nevertheless, if you don’t want your trip to India to hide any nasty surprises, it’s good to know which vaccines are best to get and what precautions are best to take during your stay.
Before starting a note: if you have recently been to Africa, Latin America, Papua and New Guinea, to enter India you must demonstrate that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever. For the rest, although there are no vaccination obligations for those coming from Europe or America, it is necessary to make a careful assessment of the dangers they may encounter. In this regard, also read our article on medicines and go on a trip to India.
Precautions for a safe trip to India
Precautions for a safe trip to India, some life-saving vaccinations are usually recommended for the following diseases (you should have already had some of these, but it is a good idea to check with the relevant local health authority to ensure that no boosters are needed. They will issue you with a vaccination booklet, which we recommend that you bring with you during your trip to India).
Typhoid (typhoid fever)
Cholera (see specification a few lines below)
Vaccination against Japanese encephalitis, present in the country, is difficult to find in Europe. The number of cases of infection worldwide is low (70,000 per year) and mainly affects children and the elderly. It is therefore better to rely on the prevention and precautions listed below than to look for the vaccine and Precautions for a safe trip to India.
As regards meningitis, the vaccine is usually recommended only for those who stay for a long time in the monsoon and post-monsoon periods in risk areas particularly in rural ones. We have performed the tetravalent vaccine against serotypes A, C, W135, and Y, present both in India and Europe.
Knowing that we would have to spend several months in this country, including visiting rural areas, we decided to also get anti-rabies vaccination. Our concern in this sense was dictated by the abundant presence of stray dogs throughout the state (even in the city) and the aggressiveness of monkeys. We encountered some resistance from the local health authority in purchasing the drug, as it is difficult to find and is usually reserved for people who work in contact with animals. But after a little coaxing and explaining the “situation” we were satisfied. The drug is quite expensive: about 150 euros for three doses.
Sanitary conditions in India are not the best, it is almost certain that travelers will suffer from dysentery or fever due to food poisoning during their stay in India. We therefore recommend taking the anti-choleric vaccine because (in addition to being preventive against this widespread pathology) it helps prevent various gastrointestinal syndromes and limit food poisoning.
Travel to India: Anti-Malaria Prevention?
Malaria, as well as dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread by mosquito bites, are endemic in India, often in both urban and non-urban areas. Is it necessary to take anti-malaria prophylaxis while traveling to India or not? First, contact your local health authority that provides special centers for travelers’ health, and check the specific areas you want to visit (India is a very vast and diverse country, here you will find information about malaria in the country). A map of prevalence will be found. There is a risk of malaria; Calculate that if these areas are affected by monsoon during the travel period then the risk will be higher due to the higher number of insects and then evaluate the pros and cons and take a decision. This is a very individual choice, depending on your health condition and also your tolerance to anti-malarial drugs, which can often cause side effects. We are limited to giving you information that we have found and developed during our many visits to this country.
First point: Prophylaxis, is not a vaccine! That is, it does not cover 100% and can even cause discomfort and health problems, especially with the liver.
Second: Treatment of malaria has progressed significantly, with very innovative and easily available drugs in India, based on a substance called artemisinin, commonly used along with other antimalarials such as chloroquine and amodiaquine. A pack costs less than 10 euros. This medicine, taken at the beginning of the first symptoms of malaria, eliminates it without any consequences in 97-98% of the cases.
Third point: If you are taking preventive anti-malarial prophylaxis, the treatment drug may unfortunately not be effective.
How to Protect yourself from mosquitoes in India?
We have never taken prophylaxis, but prefer to make intensive use of mosquito repellents and other means to keep them away. These are our solutions to protect yourself from mosquitoes in India:
Mosquito spray: for tropical areas, such as Auton Tropical Vapo Repellent or similar, used during the day and night (because, unlike malaria mosquitoes, dengue mosquitoes are also active during the day)
Mosquito repellent diffuser with liquid refill must be connected to electricity In our rooms we use it every night and also during the day in high-risk areas. There are different brands, Red, Auton, and Conad, and one refill lasts about 30 days! We use vape magic. For those who stay in India for a long time, don’t worry if you run out of supplies of various types of mosquito repellents, you will find them in most well-stocked supermarkets or pharmacies, just search around a bit.
Group B vitamin supplements: Another precaution that we take when we go to areas where there is a high prevalence of diseases, the carrier of which is mosquito bites, is to take group B vitamin supplements for some time, a vitamin complex Which (along with many other beneficial factors) is beneficial Mosquitoes give an unpleasant odor to our skin so that they avoid biting us. Ask your doctor for advice regarding the use of these supplements, but for us, they have always been excellent allies.
Biokill, especially used on mosquito nets, clothing, and bedding, is a useful permethrin-based insecticide spray, effective against cold-blooded insects. Apart from keeping mosquitoes away, it is also effective against mites, fleas, ants, and cockroaches (the most common roommates). You can also buy the ecological insecticide Biokill on Amazon.
Obviously, the clear advice, it is important to be as little exposed as possible and wear light colored clothing for your own safety. It may be useful to bring a mosquito net, as cheap hotels often have no mosquito nets on the windows. This is a great solution, affordable and lightweight.
How long before a trip to India do I need to get vaccines?
Our advice is to request an appointment with the Local Health Authority of your municipality about two months before departure, to make sure you have time to carry out all the necessary boosters and above all to avoid having to do all the vaccinations in a few days. Once we found ourselves having to get vaccinated for cholera, typhoid and two hepatitis within 24 hours and the effect was not pleasant at all.
Precautions for a safe trip to India
Obviously it is necessary to religiously respect the usual food precautions due to the high risks resulting from poor hygiene. It is best to consume only well-cooked foods, avoiding raw vegetables and fruit that you have not personally washed, dried and peeled. It is advisable to wash your hands frequently (bring with you a handwash sanitizing gel!), drink only sealed bottles (always check the cap is closed), without adding ice and infusions only if prepared with water boiled for a long time. In general, avoid ice creams (even packaged ones because the cold chain is often not respected), yogurt purchased on the street, sauces, soups and gravies that are not boiling.
Bottled water is a relatively expensive commodity in India a good solution to save money and avoid the accumulation of plastic bottles is to buy large 5-litre bottles or to refill your empty bottles cheaply at filtered drinking water dispensers in several large cities in India (located in major railway stations). Check that they are those authorized by the government to avoid unpleasant consequences. Furthermore, in non-tourist areas, creams with sun filters are difficult to find, so get them before departure, we always use a sun screen of 30 and above to avoid annoying sunburns.
The risk of AIDS, sexual contagion and blood transfusion is high, consequently, exclusively protected sex and in case of hospitalization, international hospitals should be absolutely preferred.
For all these and other reasons, even for a trip to India it is absolutely necessary to choose the best travel insurance possible.