The vaccines you should get before traveling to India is an important discussion you should have with your doctor or medical professional. Just like your eVisa for India, getting the right immunizations is a primary consideration when you start planning your vacation.
India is a fascinating and beautiful country, but travelers should consider that there are a few unpleasant tropical diseases still afflicting tourists and locals alike. Before your trip to India, be sure to get the vaccines you need according to your doctor’s recommendations.
Bear in mind, of course, not all the vaccinations required are a quick 5-minute injection from your local doctor’s surgery. For some vaccines for your trip to India:
- You may need to visit a specialist clinic
- You might need to be checked for allergies to certain medicines
- You could require a number of booster shots over a series of weeks
Therefore, consulting a medical professional to find out which shots and medicine you’ll need and how long to get them before the day of your departure is crucial. Without any doubt, being advised about the vaccines you will need will ensure that you enjoy a pleasant trip for the duration of your stay.
Check India’s visa requirements and whether you have a valid passport to apply for your eVisa to India. Most foreign visitors are required to obtain a visa to enter India.
Here are some of the most important vaccinations doctors may recommend for traveling to India:
Hepatitis A and B
Symptoms: Jaundice, Extreme Fatigue, Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach Pains
The Hepatitis virus affects the liver primarily. Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food and water and is a very persistent illness, sometimes lasting as long as six months.
Hepatitis B, on the other hand, is a much nastier version, which is contracted via bodily fluids. Unlike A, it doesn’t present itself until later (sometimes as much as 90 days after the initial infection). If left untreated for too long it can cause permanent liver cirrhosis.
- 3 shots over the space of 6 months
- A rapid course of 3 shots over the space of 5 weeks (with one extra booster shot 1 year after the first dose for long term immunity)
Symptoms: Fever, Jaundice, Headache, Muscle Pain, Nausea, Vomiting, Fatigue
Yellow Fever is spread by mosquitoes. However, unlike many other of the illnesses on this list, it is not one you will encounter in India itself. However, if you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is a risk, then it is mandatory to have the vaccination and proof of immunization before you can enter the country.
Vaccination schedule: 1 shot at least 10 days before travel
Symptoms: Weakness, High Fever, Headaches, Stomach Pains
Typhoid is contracted from contaminated food and water. Whilst it is not common at all in Western countries today, it is still quite often found around the world with up to 22 million cases reported per year. The vaccination is effective in only 80% of cases so care must still be taken with what you eat and drink on your trip.
Vaccination Schedule: 1 shot 14 days before travel
Symptoms: Fever, Rash, Cough, Pneumonia
Measles is still present in some parts of India and care should be taken if traveling around areas where a breakout has occurred. As most cases of measles in the West originate from travel to areas affected by the illness getting immunized is very important. The disease is highly contagious, so make sure that you check with your doctor that you are up to date with your vaccinations before embarking on your trip.
Vaccination schedule: 2 shots over the course of 28 days
Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting
Cholera is quite rare in India, with less than 100,000 cases reported each year. However, outbreaks do occur on occasions, when water and food are contaminated by bacteria that causes the disease. Vaccination should only be needed if an epidemic has occurred recently in one of the areas you will be visiting.
Vaccination schedule: 2 oral doses 14 days apart
Symptoms: Confusion, Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Difficulty Moving, Coma
This disease affects many Asian countries and is caused by mosquito bites. However, Japanese Encephalitis is a very serious illness and can cause brain swelling and death if not treated in time. If will be spending extended periods in tropical areas then your doctor will probably recommend immunization.
Vaccination schedule: 2 doses over the space of 28 days
Symptoms: Irritability, Confusion, Seizures, Weakness, Extreme Sensitivity To Bright Lights
The rabies virus is caused due to bites from dogs, bats and many other types of mammals living in India. It is often fatal. Therefore, if you are going to be traveling anywhere with long stays outdoors (like camping or hiking) or you will be working with animals then you are at greater risk of being infected and should consider asking your doctor about immunization.
Because the disease is so dangerous, it’s advised to be extra cautious when encountering wild animals on the street and in the forests and not to touch them under any circumstances. If after vaccination you are bitten by an animal you must still clean the wound and visit a hospital immediately for checks.
Vaccination schedule: 3 doses over 28 days.
5 tips for staying healthy whilst in India:
- Carry antimalarials (especially if visiting tropical regions)
- Keep away from wild animals
- Protect yourself from insect bites
- Eat and drink safely
- Sanitize properly
Your trip to India should be a great experience and rushing to the hospital is not something you’d want to go through during your stay… Always remember to consult with your doctor before traveling to see which vaccines will keep you protected when you visit India. Getting an injection only takes a little time and planning. It’s well worth it.