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An Indian Sum Up


A recent business trip to Kolkata was preceded by an offering of well meaning advice from various friends who had already visited India and a few who had not made the long journey. And as somebody who has travelled extensively, I know that there are many areas that can offer a significant risk to your health. So I took all the recomendations on board and went fully armed for my trip, and if you heading to this amazing country i would suggest you do the same.

So, here is some of that very good advice along with a few added tips of my own.

1. Drinking water
The simple fact is that you simply cannot trust the tap water in India as the supply contains a high level of faecal matter along with many other chemical deposits and additives. Many hotels, cafe's and resturaunts will offer "treated" or "filtered" water, you will even see even the poorest people living on the street boil their water before consumption. 

So the rule that I (and many others) stick to, is to only drink bottled mineral water that is available at all good hotels, cafe's, shops and resturaunts. Also make sure that the seal is not broken on the lid, I encountered broken seals twice and simply went elsewhere. It's just not worth the risk of sickness or worse. And remember anything else that may contain or encounters tap water such as ice, brushing your teeth and as stupid as it sounds, keep your mouth closed in the shower.

2. Food
Food seems to be the main culprit for illness or "Delhi belly" for many travellers and i was surprised just how many experience this problem. So again, be careful of anything that may have been prepared using water such as salads or other raw foods that may have been washed. I stuck to food that had been well cooked and if you want to be really careful, cooked vegetables are often a safer bet than meat as you will not know how it was stored and for how long.

You should also avoid buffets as you will not know how long the food as on display.

I would recommend that you eat in good resturaunts (usually the busy ones) as that are very cheap compared to European resturaunts, we enjoyed a three course meal with a couple of beers in a "5 star" hotel for a mere 650 Rupees (about £8 or €9.50) per head.

3. Protect yourself against malaria and others diseases
Make sure you visit your doctor at least 6 weeks before you go and tell him or her where you are going. They will make sure you are up to date with any jabs and also recommend the correct course of malaria tablets such as Paludrine and or Avloclor.

4. Essential items to take on your Indian trip
Antibacterial hand wipes – you will use these all the time as hygiene is not a priority. Toilet rolls – you will only find toilet rolls in places that are used to international visitors Imodium – You never know when diarrhoea will strike, and it's best to be prepared as it is hard to find a decent chemist or drug store in India.

If you heading for India for the first time, please at least take onboard the basic tips and advice above and I wish you a safe and healthy trip in what is a fascinating country. 


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