- Written by Dan
India's Grit is Part of its Travel Charm
By Fina Scroppo
On the great subcontinent in the Indian Ocean, the tropical climate and varied hygiene practices bring unfamiliar risks to the average traveller
No doubt, both India's charm and chaos can intoxicate travellers. But in such a dynamic country, being caught off-guard and unprepared about India Health Issues can bring a life-altering experience to a sudden halt. Learn the risks about India Health Issues before your trip.
Get Immunized and Up to Date
And always go to a travel health clinic before travelling to a hot climate country— don’t let any seasoned adventurer talk you out of it.
Check your immunization record to ensure you’re up to date on your regular (childhood) vaccines. They should include: diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (a big issue in developing countries, and a fatal infection!); measles, mumps, rubella; meningococcal meningitis disease; pneumococcal disease; and yes, even polio, which has not yet been eradicated worldwide.
Pack a First-Aid Kit
What and how to pack a first-aid kit depends on where you’re going, length of stay and distance from medical care. and because medications like antibiotic creams can be difficult to find or inferior in quality, pack some essentials: anti- septic wipes or soap, sterile gauze pads, adhesive bandages, pain relievers, oral rehydration salts, insect repellent and bite treatment, and antihistamines.
Ask your physician for a round of anti- biotics for the eventuality of Delhi Belly (travellers’ diarrhea), which you’re likely to get by tasting india’s culinary delights. antibiotics can kill most food or waterborne infections, thus keeping you fit to continue your journey.
Keep handy a list of in-country emergency numbers: for India call 100 for police, 102 for ambulance, or 101 for fire.
Prepare for Heat
Whether exploring the cosmopolitan hub of mumbai, or temples along the Ganges, india’s heat and humidity can pummel your progress. Drink lots of fluids,wear light-weight, loose-fitting and light-coloured clothing, and reduce the intensity of physical activity.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can lead to serious medical emergencies, so it’s best to keep out of the sun at peak hours, and stay in well-ventilated areas. If you experience muscle cramps followed by sweating, an elevated temperature, weakness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, shallow breathing, and cool and moist skin, you’re likely showing signs of trouble.
Heatstroke is more severe when skin turns red, hot and dry; breathing is heavy, and headache, dizziness, or confusion set in. Sufferers also behave irrationally before fainting. When symptoms begin, move to a cool spot immediately, remove excess clothing and drink fluids. a local indian remedy may also be helpful: coconut water from green coconuts has been shown to rehydrate and replenish nutrients.
Humid temperatures may also cause fungal rashes around the armpits, groin and between toes. All are treatable with antifungal cream.
Size Up Street Food
India is renowned for its tasty and cheap street food. Here are tips to avoid bacterial infections:
- Beware foods (like fruit) that have been spritzed with water to look more appealing.
- Enjoy foods only cooked in front of you, or that are served piping hot (not warm from sitting in the sun). fried foods are also a good option.
- Ensure utensils and surfaces being used are clean. washed utensils can be problematic if the water used was contaminated.
- Order cold drinks prepared with milk instead of water.
- Avoid street food with numerous flies.
- Pay attention to local traffic—if locals frequent a vendor, it’s probably a better choice.
Avoid Water and Food-borne Diseases
Naturally the best way to beat the heat is to drink water frequently. But resist the urge to grab the first sip in sight. Diseases like cholera, hepatitis a, leptospirosis, travellers’ diarrhea and typhoid fever can lurk in foods and contaminated water. Brush teeth with bottled water. Don’t drink water from the tap or roadside vendors, and only use bottled water with intact seals from a respectable outlet.
Practice the common travellers’ motto of peel it, boil it, cook it, or leave it. Never eat raw, uncooked meat, avoid fruits and vegetables you can’t peel or wash with clean water, and shellfish. and always disinfect hands before eating.
Protect Against Insects
Like many hot climate countries, India has higher risks for infectious and insect- borne diseases. Outbreaks can and do occur—like the recent mosquito- transmitted chikungunya, for example— and the best advice is to be aware. (The Public Health agency of canada’s Travel Health website at phac-aspc.gc.ca provides information on diseases specific to locations.)
Dengue fever, a serious disease trans- mitted by mosquitoes, has been on the rise in new Delhi in recent years, and there’s no vaccine for it. Malaria is also caused by mosquitoes, but preventive medications are available. if experiencing flu-like symptoms like fever, aching joints and muscles, nausea and headache, seek medical attention—it could be malaria or dengue.
Travellers should take precautions in swampy or low-lying areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. Stay in well- screened accommodations, and when possible, sleep under an insecticide- treated bed net. Wear long-sleeved shirts, use mosquito repellent with Deet.
Revel With Caution
While you’ll want to enjoy india’s incredible festivities, be careful when joining in. every year, people are crushed or trampled to death, as packed crowds gather on train platforms or in processions.