We are getting questions about what shots and precautions for our upcoming India trip, Oct. 25-Nov 4 and for other trips to more exotic places. These questions bring up several themes:
The obvious one for us as tour operators is we are NOT medical advisers and are not equipped professionally to give out medical advice. We can tell you what one of us does for our personal health, but this is not a guideline for yours.
The second comment is that what you will need depends on what season you are visiting a country. Last year when our group went to Ethiopia, we all took anti-malarial medicine. On arrival we found out that there is no disease during the very dry part of the year. But all the medical journals and doctors had told us to take them??
Thirdly, everyone has their own level of worry. And their own lifestyle. Some will get a tetanus shot annually, just because (like me) they are often cut with kitchen or handyman tools. Others might find that excessively careful. Those women traveling solo might consider taking extra precautions so as not to get sick alone.
So how do you decide the middle ground between getting everything the CDC lists and getting what you reasonably think is necessary? Check weather during your travel season and share that with your doctor. Know the map so you can analyze how far you will be from infected areas. Find out if you will be near animals (wild or domestic). Take personal precautions against drinking local water even mistakenly in the shower. Know your own resistance to infection and if need be, bring an antibiotic for a fix until you get home. Realize that in most places we visit there are doctors who have similar medicines to ours and they can be called immediately. Do not be guided by newspaper headlines rather than medical advice. Final note, take out travel insurance so you can protect against any unexpected medical or related bills.
Whatever you decide, it is always best to get professional advice, make notes and follow them.