Medical Q&As

Travel vaccinations - afraid of needles?

I am due to visit India for one week in four weeks time. My problem is that I have a very real phobia about injections and needles. Are there any suitable precautions that I can take in tablet form only or do I "risk it"?

I most definitely recommend that you don’t “risk it”. Travel to India exposes you to the risk of acquiring hepatitis A, typhoid and malaria. There is a vaccine against hepatitis A, which is recommended for travel to India but it is only available in injectable form. Hepatitis A is not a trivial illness and although it is not as serious as other forms of hepatitis it can be very debilitating. You can obtain useful information on protecting your health while travelling in our travel vaccinations section and in particular I would refer you to two articles, one on general health advice while travelling and the other on traveller’s diarrhoea. Theses articles are located respectively at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=435 http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=303. Malaria prophylaxis involves a regime of pill taking and since you are departing within the next few weeks you should consult with your GP or travel clinic in order to obtain the appropriate pills. Most antimalarial regimes involve commencing pill taking before you arrive in the endemic country. There is also an oral preparation available for the prevention of typhoid. It is called Vivotif and it is taken in three doses on alternate days i.e. day 1, 3 and 5. The final dose of Vivotif should be taken at least 10 days before arriving in India. It provides protection against typhoid for one year.