Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Travel Vaccine Recommendations for India
Before packing for the beautiful country of India please consider the following Center for Disease Control recommendations:
--Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (1 shot)--->if your last one was more than 10 years ago.
--Polio (1 shot)--> one time only needed as an adult.
--Measles (1 shot)-->one time booster if you were born after 1956 and if you cannot document that you are immune by haveing received either 2 doses of MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine or by history of having had the disease. A blood test can also be done to see if you have had the vaccine. Please note that measles is a live vaccine and that it should not be given to pregnant women or to those with immunosuppression. Also women are advised not to get pregnant for 4 weeks after receiving the MMR.
Typhoid (4 pills)--->which are taken 1 every other day, and will be good for 5 years. It should be taken at least 2 weeks before the trip. Note that these pills should be refrigerated, and that this is also a live vaccine.
Hepatitis A (2 shots) --->ideally the first dose should be given 4 weeks prior to your trip to be maximally protected. You will need a second shot in 6-12 months to be protected long term.
Hepatitis B (3 shots)---> 2 of which are given 4 weeks apart and the third is given in 6 months. You should complete the first 2 shots before departure. This is especially recommended if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment.
A combination shot of hepatitis A and B vaccines may ge given in 1 shot instead of individual A and B shots.
--Malaria Pills-- 2 most commonly prescribed are the following but only one is needed:
>Malarone(atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride)---taken one a day starting one day before entering India and continuing every day until 7 days after you have left India.
>Lariam (Mefloquine)--- taken one a week, starting one week before entering India and continuing for 4 weeks after leaving India. This is not recommended for people with depression. It has also been associated with vivid dreams.
See Malaria Information for Travelers to South Asia.
Ciprofloxacin or equivalent antibiotic to have just in case of traveler's diarrhea. If diarrhea occurs and is lasting more than 24 hours or is associated with blood or fever then take one tablet of Cipro twice a day for 3 days.
Depending on your itinerary other vaccines to consider are:
Japanese encephalitis, if you plan to visit rural farming areas and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
Rabies, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
TB (tuberculosis) test should be considered after your trip especially if you visit India frequently or if you are staying there for one month or longer.
Over the counter medications to consider depending on your needs:
Imodium for diarrhea.
Diphenhydramine(Benadryl) for allergic reactions, motion sickness, nausea, and as sleep aid.
Hydrocortisone for skin reactions.
Sudafed for congestion, especially if before a flight.
Acetominophen(Tylenol), Ibuprofen(Advil) or other anti-inflammatory medication.
DEET containing mosquito repellant.
Additional information: see the Safe Food and Water page for a list of links. Consider DEET permeated clothing, and wearing long sleeves and pants when outside at dusk or dawn which are feeding times for mosquitos.
Please consult your doctors for any specific questions or if you are pregnant.
And if you really want to avoid the vaccines then check with your doctor, parents, or your old records to see if any of your shots are documented and up to date.
Photographer:Maurice Crosby Photography Ltd. Date:1955 Fonds/Collection:Maurice Crosby Reference no.:accession no. 1997-254/003, nos. 4-5