Saturday, October 1, 2011

Shots and Medications

 Listening to:  The ever present honking outside the window
Mood: Calm

One of the things that you’ll need to worry about a decent amount ahead is getting shots for yourself and your kids. You should be thinking about this ideally 2 months before you board your flight so the medication has a chance to get working in your system. Right now, the WHO recommends tetanus, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid.  If you’re going to get all rural, you’ll need to worry about malaria medication and possibly Japanese Encephalitis too. As we’re staying in a city, we were told not to bother. If you’re in any contact at all with animals, a rabies vaccine is also recommended. Unless you’re a vet, it’s pretty well advised to avoid close contact with the wild life here at all costs, including the strays that wander around. Tetanus and typhoid are pretty straight forward. The shots are nearly painless, although you will probably end up with a sore arm for a few days. Trust me; the sore arm is worth not getting typhoid or tetanus.  All of us had already been vaccinated for Hep B, but that shot is also relatively simple and almost pain free.  A small disclaimer here: This was our experience – you definitely need to talk to your own physician, or better yet a travel physician.  I recommend the travel physician if at all possible because they just know what they’re talking about and they do it on a regular basis. I did a lot of running around for our pediatrician to find typhoid shots that were readily available at the travel physician. It’s also worth noting that if you have yourself or have a child with allergies, you should speak with your doctor or the travel doctor about Epi-pens.  The medicine is generally available here, but doctors do not pass them out for personal individual use. This is especially true for people with nut allergies, as nuts are almost omnipresent in the food in India. You really don’t want to have to get to the hospital before you can get an epi shot. Most should be able to give you without a problem. Our travel physician gave a few for our daughter without even asking for a prescription.

Another thing to be aware of is getting enough medicine to travel with. This is basic travel 101, but it bears repeating. You should have enough for your trip, and then some. Most common medicines are found in India, but again, ask your travel physician what they recommend. The medical industry is not all that well regulated in India. It’s not uncommon to find all kinds of medicine at the corner shop being dispensed without regard for need or dosage. They just pass you the bottle or the pills. It definitely pays to keep your doctor’s phone number handy for any questions you have about medication.


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