Staying Healthy in India
India is one of the most interesting countries in the world, but is also one of the most chaotic, bizarre and unsanitary. Below are a few tips that will help make sure your enjoyment isn’t interrupted by sickness.
Don’t drink the water (and keep an eye out for suspect ice)
This is a well-known rule, but must be observed diligently. In other words, don’t accidentally sip the shower water, and don’t use tap water to brush your teeth.
The water for tea has usually been boiled, so it should be OK. Bottled water is likewise probably safe, but if you happen to find a new bottle of water that does not have a plastic seal, don’t drink it.
Drink lots of (bottled) water
Be extra vigilant in choosing what type of water to drink, but once you’ve found a safe source, stock up. Although you may not feel like you are perspiring, Rajasthan’s climate is extremely arid, and it is easy to become dehydrated.
If it’s not peeled or boiled, forget it
Fruits and vegetables that are washed are often done so with contaminated water. The exception is fruit and salads served in the best hotels, where food is prepared with the needs of the Western traveller in mind. But in general, be cautious of any raw fruits or vegetables.
Did it swim or scuttle?
It is a good idea to stay away from seafood other than fish during your trip, as it may sometimes lead to stomach problems.
Wash your hands regularly
One good look at a grimy 10-rupee note should be enough motivation. It is useful to carry anti-bacterial hand sanitizer with you. Infrequent hand-washing is probably the most sure-fire way to catch an infection.
Let your guides know right away if you don’t feel well
Some maladies, such as amoebic dysentery, will continue to recur unless stopped by antibiotics. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can eliminate the problem (so to speak).