India is a land of unique cultural heritage that is very much alive today. Experiencing societal norms so different from our own in such an exotic and beautiful country is a rare opportunity. A vacation to this magnificent country can be an exciting venture, but you should make sure you are immunized and take preventative courses of medications in order to avoid falling ill with a preventable disease. Many illnesses that are not common in the United States are still prevalent in India. Make the most of your amazing trip and rest assured you are protected with booster shots, anti-malarial medications, flu shots and new immunizations.
You should receive any booster shots or inoculations you need six weeks prior to your date of departure from US soil. Many vaccines need six weeks to be fully effective, so you want to have plenty of time. If you don’t have the full six weeks’ time for the vaccines to work, you should still get them. It is better to have a little protection than none.
Recommended vaccines for India
The first thing you should do is to be sure you are current on all your routine vaccination shots. These are the ones that are given as standard procedure to all children born and/or raised in the U.S. Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), as well as poliovirus vaccines are two you should make sure are current. Also, the diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus vaccine should be current. If you aren’t sure whether you have been previously inoculated, check with your healthcare provider to learn about what you can do. You may need to have the shots again.
You will want to get the Hepatitis A series of vaccines. This debilitating disease can be contracted by eating local food and water. Even in westernized hotels and restaurants, you have no guarantee of safety, so be sure you are up to date with the Hep A shot.
Similarly, receiving the Hepatitis B series of shots goes hand in hand with the A type. With hepatitis B, you may be exposed to this one by contact with body fluids and by sexual contact. No one likes to think about it, but if you are injured in India and are hospitalized, you may be exposed to Hep B, particularly if you have to have a blood transfusion or other major surgery. Since hospitals overseas may not have the same sterilization techniques we take for granted here, it pays to be immunized from Hepatitis A and B.
It is recommended that all adult travelers to India get an IPV, or inactivated polio vaccine, even if you have had a primary series of vaccinations. Just one booster should protect you from polio for the rest of your life, but don’t assume you have already had it. Check with your healthcare provider or consult your own records. While polio is not a common problem in the US, it is in India. Polio is a potentially severely debilitating or even deadly disease. Protect yourself with the vaccine.
A Typhoid vaccine is highly advisable before you leave. Although this disease has been all but eradicated in the United States, it still flourishes in India. It is, in fact, highly contagious and can lead to death. Americans are not routinely protected against typhus. The CDC strong advises travelers to get vaccinated.
Finally, if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, or you will be in rural or jungle areas you will want to take antimalarial drugs, as well as to be vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis. Japanese encephalitis and malaria are both transmitted by the mosquito, so take the extra precaution and get the shots. A Rabies vaccination is also wise for anyone that may come into contact with wildlife or stray domestic animals.
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Traveling outside of USA and concerned about your health? Travel vaccinations are recommended for many destinations. Find out about the requirements and talk to a physician.
To learn more about vaccinations and preventative courses of medications please call us. Dr. Gafanovich can give you expert advice about how you can prevent illness or injury while traveling, while also giving you the vaccinations you need. Contact us for an appointment today!