What vaccinations do I need for India?
India is a very popular destination amongst those seeking adventure and is bursting full of amazing things to see and do. However, travelling to India does carry some health risks. Before setting off, travellers should make sure they are protected against any health hazards that could potentially ruin their trip.
Although there are no compulsory vaccinations required for entry to India, there are some that are strongly recommended. Find out what these vaccinations are below.
The bacteria that causes tetanus is mainly found in soil, animal faces and dust. The bacteria enters the body through cuts or wounds and begins to release a toxin that affects nerves, muscles and motor neurons. This subsequently results in painful muscle spasms, particularly in the jaw. Other symptoms also include fever, sweating, increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Catching and surviving tetanus does not mean a person is immune from contracting it again so active immunization is needed.
The hepatitis A virus attacks the liver leading to inflammation. It can cause sufferers to develop flu like symptoms as well as stomach pain. Jaundice is also a common symptom and is the reason why the disease is known to many as Yellow Jaundice. As India can have poor sanitation in certain areas, travellers are at a higher risk of catching the hepatitis A virus there through contaminated food and water. Although it is a short-term infection, the symptoms of hepatitis A can be unpleasant so getting vaccinated is crucial.
Typhoid is contracted from eating contaminated food and water and the often poor sanitation systems in India puts travellers to the country at risk. The classic symptoms of Typhoid are fever, poor appetite, headaches, body aches and diarrhoea, although, some people may present with no symptoms at all. Some patients continue to be carriers of the disease after they have been cured and are often responsible for new outbreaks. Thanks to antibiotics, the mortality rate of Typhoid is low.
This is a viral infection that is spread most frequently through the faecal-oral route. The virus then multiplies in the intestine and can cause symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throat, headaches and muscle pains. Severe cases may also lead to paralysis which can be permanent. It is important to note that 90-95% of those infected show no symptoms at all yet these people are still capable of passing the infection on to others. There is currently no cure for polio and it can only be prevented through vaccination.
Other vaccinations required for India
Aside from the above mentioned vaccinations, those venturing to more rural areas, or those who are planning on going trekking, should also consider protecting themselves against a number of other diseases.
More rural parts of India will pose even more threat to travellers’ health so they should consider immunizing themselves against Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, Meningococcal Meningitis and Japanese B Encephalitis.
It is recommended that travellers to these types of areas attend the clinic to get their vaccines earlier than the suggested four to six weeks prior to departure to ensure there is enough time to finish the immunization courses.
TMB also suggest anyone planning a trip to India to consult the Irish government Department of Foreign Affairs website and the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website to check the country’s safety status.
India is a magical destination and most travellers should not run in to any problems once they take the suggestions made above on-board.