travel health consultation

One of my goals for this blog is to serve as a reference to people who do a Fulbright in India in the coming years. So feel free to skip this entry (and others like it) if you’re not in that situation.

The two salient points from the consultation were: boil your water and do everything in your power not to get bitten by mosquitos. (The latter admittedly terrifies me since I am a magnet for mosquitos. When I was on a yoga retreat at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in 2009 (which, by the way, I highly recommend), I could not fend of mosquitos no matter how much or what kind of repellent I applied.) I always knew that these two things were important, but I didn’t realize how many different unfortunate outcomes they actually prevented.

The immunizations I ended up getting were: Hepatitis A (the food-borne type), Typhoid, Tetanus, and Rabies. I opted out of Japanese Encephalitis. Both Rabies and J.E. are very expensive, but J.E. is not really a major threat in the big cities, from what I hear. But it just depends how much precaution you want to take. (If I get J.E., I’ll be back in touch…)

I highly recommend a travel consultation for anyone traveling to India, especially for that length of time. The lady was very helpful and gave me a lot of information and tips. She also pointed out some common mistakes that foreigners make that tend to jeopardize their health (i.e. drinking beverages with ice, eating raw vegetables that might have been washed in unfiltered water), and talked about the most efficient ways to avoid certain problems.

A few things I learned on the topic of travel consultations:

  • book your travel health appointment well in advance: I waited until the summer, and the travel clinic I went to see was all booked up, meaning I have to finish some of my series of shots in India. Not a disaster, but not something I wanted to have to deal with while trying to get settled. When you are going to get your initial health clearance, book this appointment as well.
  • make a list of questions for your doctor beforehand: so much information will be thrown at you at a travel consultation that you may forget things you had intended to ask.
  • make PDFs of any written info they give you: it will be much easier to find on your computer later, when you need it.
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