Most visitors can travel in reasonable safely by practicing some basic precautions. Travelers coming from countries where basic health facilities and public sanitation are taken for granted, need to condition themselves to a new reality while traveling in India.
- You must become very pro-active about your health. Be aware of common diseases you can encounter here, how you get them, and some of the symptoms. Get the advice of a doctor about inoculations required and other medical precautions you should take.
- Carry a simple first aid kit, and make sure it is with you all the time. Keep it simple. Band-Aids, antiseptic, and mosquito repellent are the minimum. India has a well developed pharmaceutical industry and almost any drug is available here.
- Travelers should be concerned with three key areas – clean water, cooked food, and avoiding mosquitoes. The most common and incapacitating diseases are gastro-intestinal upset, hepatitis and mosquito borne diseases.
- Water – Clean drinking water, these days, is not too difficult since sealed bottled water is sold in most places.
- Food – Water isn’t your only concern. What food you eat, how it’s cooked, stored and served is important too. As a rule, stick to freshly cooked food, made in a reasonably clean restaurant. Be wary of salads and fresh vegetable garnishes. There isn’t much awareness of washing vegetables before serving. Fresh fruit juices can be a problem, since many tropical fruits blend into a pulp that you have to dilute with water. It’s unlikely that the vendor is adding expensive bottled water.
- It is advisable to use sun protection at all times during the day. This is even more necessary at higher altitudes where temperature might not indicate the need of having a sun block; however the UV rays are much more harmful at such places. To avoid such situations drink lots of fluid, wear a hat or a cap and rest. Also make sure to not be out in sun for long hours.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
- It is recommended that you have meningitis, typhoid and hepatitis vaccines, especially if you are planning a long trip to the country.