Traveling abroad doesn’t have to be confusing if you know the right things before you go.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP:
- Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
- CDC recommends Hepatitis A vaccine since it spreads through contaminated food or water in India.
- You may also get typhoid through contaminated food or water in India. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas.
- Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in India, so CDC recommends this vaccine. Children tend to play with animals and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.
- Malaria Risk Areas: All areas throughout the country, including cities of Bombay (Mumbai) and Delhi, except none in areas >2,000 m (6,561 ft) in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Sikkim. Malaria drugs are not 100% effective, and other diseases (such as dengue, leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis) also are spread by insects, so children (and their parents!) need to avoid bug bites. Children should wear bug spray and long pants and sleeves. At night, children should sleep in screened, air-conditioned rooms or under a bed net.
- Japanese Encephalitis Risk Areas: Human cases reported from all states except Dadra, Daman, Diu, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya, Nagar Haveli, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Sikkim. Highest rates of human disease reported from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Most human cases reported May–October, especially in northern India; the season may be extended or year-round in some areas, especially in southern India.
- Chikungunya and Dengue are also transmitted by mosquito bite during the day and night, both indoors and outdoors that often live around buildings.
- Diarrhea is the most common illnesses experienced by children who are traveling. For infants, the best way to prevent diarrhea is breastfeeding. Older children should follow basic food and water precautions: eat only food that is cooked and served hot, peel fresh fruits and vegetables or wash them in clean water, and drink only beverages from sealed containers or water that has been boiled or treated. Children should wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand cleaner frequently.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death in children who travel, and drowning is the second-leading cause of death. Children should always ride in age-appropriate car seats when traveling.
PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP
- Your prescriptions
- Consider packing spare glasses or contact lenses
- Diabetes testing supplies
- Epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens)
- Diarrhea medicine: like loperamide [Imodium] or bismuth subsalicylate [Pepto-Bismol]
- Medicine for pain and fever: Examples: acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen
- Saline nose spray
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol or antibacterial hand wipes
- insect repellent based on CDC recommendations
- child safety seats, bicycle helmets
- 1% hydrocortisone cream
- Antifungal ointments
- Antibacterial ointments
- Antiseptic wound cleanser
- Mosquito repellent
- Health insurance card (your regular plan and/or supplemental travel health insurance plan) and copies of claim forms
- Copies of all prescriptions including generic name
- Carry a contact card containing the street addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of US embassy, family members, hospitals.
- An electrical adapter to change voltage for any appliances brought from America
- some non perishable snacks
- Traveler’s checks and enough cash, keep them in separate places. An ATM card is also convenient.
- Travelers’ diarrhea antibiotic
- Medicine to prevent malaria
- Water purification tablets
- Bed net
- Disposable gloves
- Digital thermometer
- Scissors and safety pins
- Cotton swabs (Q-Tips)
- Eye drops
- Oral rehydration salts
- A small flashlight
- You may also want to bring a money belt, or thin wallet to keep in your front pocket.
- Combination lock
DURING YOUR TRIP
- Eat Food that is cooked and served hot and Pasteurized dairy products.
- Avoid Room temperature food and Food from street vendors
- Drink Bottled water that is sealed or Water that has been disinfected. If you buy water from a vendor in the streets, make sure the lid is still on properly.
- Avoid Tap or well water or Ice made with tap or well water.
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use an appropriate insect repellent and Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors
- Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat and drink regularly, wear loose and lightweight clothing, and limit physical activity during high temperatures. Use sun-screen.
- Schistosomiasis and leptospirosis, infections that can be spread in fresh water, are found in India. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.
- Some diseases in India—such as dengue, filariasis, and leishmaniasis—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine.
- Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
- Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
- Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
- Be smart when you are traveling on foot. Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
- Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate
- Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
- Stay at a trustworthy place.
AFTER YOUR TRIP
- See your doctor if you or your child is feeling sick. Tell them about the potential exposures that you may have had (including TB patients, malarial location, animal contacts) etc.
Source: Multiple including CDC