Travel Tips for Health Visiting India

Best Tips You Should Know Before Traveling to India.

Travelling to India – Will I get sick in India? This is one of the most commonly asked questions by first-time visitors to India.

Green Coconuts Green Coconuts

Green coconuts, an excellent remedy for dehydration in India.

Travelling to India – The question is not whether you will get sick in India, but what to do when you do get sick. The majority of foreign travellers or holidaymakers in India get sick at some point during their trip, thanks to the challenges that India provides to a Western immune system: different hygiene standards, different food, different climates and a whole different world of bacteria. India is full of weird tropical bacteria, parasites and other nasty little things that usually hit you when you least expect it. However, few travellers get anything worse than travellers’ diarrhoea (or Delhi belly) and most stomach bugs can easily be treated with the right medication.

I’ve had it all: amoebic dysentery, worms, bacterial diarrhoea. Indian stomach bugs are annoying and sometimes awful but they are rarely lethal for a traveller who has access to medical care, and there is no reason to be paranoid. The truth is it is possible to get sick from absolutely anything in India, even from eating plain, boiled white rice (I have, and it was one of the worst food poisonings I’ve ever had).

Travelling to India -You can follow all the guidelines from different guidebooks and do everything right: drink only bottled water, eat only fruit you can peel yourself, wash your hands constantly, avoid street food, eat only cooked meals in five-star restaurants – but it is possible that you will still get sick in India.

Best Tips You Should Know Before Travelling to India

Fruit Seller at Devaraja Market, Mysore.

mysore

To make fruit safe to eat, wash it in purified water and peel it.

Travelling to India – Many travellers suffer only a day or two of diarrhoea and it often goes away on its own. It is important to drink a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. Coconut water from green coconuts is an excellent natural remedy for dehydration and it is usually very well tolerated even when the patient is vomiting and cannot keep anything else down. Oral rehydration salts are available from Indian pharmacies or can be brought from home. When you can eat, choose bland foods. Bananas are good. If the diarrhoea is caused by bacteria, antibiotics can help.

Many travellers carry antibiotics prescribed by their own doctor for Indian stomach bugs. These work on simple travellers’ diarrhoea but will not help with amoebic dysentery or other disease caused by parasites. If the diarrhoea does not stop after a couple of days, if there is blood in the stool or if there are other symptoms such as fever, a stool test is required to determine what is going on.

You’ll need to see a doctor (ask a guesthouse or a hotel to recommend a good one), or you can just march to the nearest hospital and ask for a stool test. This is a quick procedure and you can usually get the results within a couple of hours. Depending on the results, a doctor can then prescribe the right medication. Whatever the cause of the diarrhoea, it is important again to drink fluids, take rehydration salts (or lots of coconut water), eat bland food and give yourself time to recover.

Stomach bugs are not the only everyday health problem travellers face in India. Thanks to the incredible pollution in Indian cities and the national habit of spitting around in public places, colds and other respiratory infections are very common.

 

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