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Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

Melbourne, Australia
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Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

We are planning our 6 week trip to India in Dec 2014/Jan 2015. Our plans are around northern India, the main places, Mumbai and the Goa region. We are a well travelled family with two older teenage children and have been to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. We have only got sick once in Laos and we think it was from the water.

When I am talking to friends, etc and tell them we are going to India with our older children, they think we are crazy ! Everyone seems to know someone who got sick in India and some really bad.

A few days ago I just got Salmonella poisoining for a chicken sandwich in Melbourne ! That was scary enough but at least I was home in my own bed with my own comforts. But it made me think about all those comments from people about why on earth do we want to go to India ! The thought did cross my mind as to how horrible it would be if any of us got sick in India. And yes I know we can all get sick anywhere but is it true, are our chances higher in India ?

I would love to hear from you all with any of your own personal experiences. Have you been sick in India ? Have you had no problems ? What advice do you have to prevent or help the chance of being sick ? Any high risk foods ? Anything you have to share would be fantastic. Thanks Franji

Australia
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1. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

My Wife and I have been travelling to India for many years and yes, we got sick several times with gastro, but it

was always very mild and lasted for a day maximum 2. This always happened when we "splashed out" and had

dinner at an expensive hotel, never at a restaurant, where the locals eat. We try to have mainly vegetarian, cooked food, never salads or anything raw, where they might use tap water to wash the food. Nuts, served as a snack before meals or with drinks, can be contaminated. Obviously only have bottled drinks and when you have tea, check that it's really hot, to make sure the water has boiled properly. Also we always take antibiotics on our trips, to be on the safe side. India is one of the most interesting countries in the world and we never get sick of visiting, if you pardon the pun...

Edited: 30 January 2014, 02:30
Mumbai (Bombay...
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for Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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2. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

Your chances of getting a tummy upset are higher in India because the spices in the food are strange and your digestive system is not used to it. The thing to do is to eat Indian food only in moderate quantities, for example, eat Western breakfasts and dinners, and have Indian lunches when you are out sightseeing. That way you don't overwhelm your system.

The street food in India is not hygenic and only bottled water should be drunk. Eat at reputed places where you see lots of tourists also eating, or eat at upscale hotels. The great thing about India is that even very fancy dining is not super-expensive in Aussie dollar terms, so that's that. And I know this is probably sacrilege, but there are lots of international fast food chains and you could also do that on some of the days.

Some people also avoid salads that have been exposed to air for long.

Other than this, there is not much specific food-related care you need.

Edited: 30 January 2014, 02:35
Australia
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3. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

Western breakfasts is good advice for someone not used to Indian cuisine, as Paratha or Dosa Masala might be a bit taxing first thing in the morning. But I would not suggest western dinners, as every time we tried it in order to have a break from Indian food, it was lousy and ridiculously expensive. Also if food is contaminated, it doesn't matter what cuisine it is. If spices are a problem, select less spicy dishes or ask for less spices to be used in the dish you want. Most restaurants are very accommodating and know, that a lot of Westerners don't like very spicy food. They always ask us and are surprised, that we enjoy "Indian style"...

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

I know a few different group of friends that went to India, atleast one of them got sick. It wasn't bad, but mainly gastro.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

Thanks everyone, great advice. We do eat Indian food but Aussie style of course ! But I know for sure I could not take Indian in three meals. My hubbie and son love chilli in their food but my daughter and I like mild Indian food. The western breakfast does sound the way and we do love masala dosai so this could be a lunch time treat. I just know when you are sick your body craves certain things which prob won't be available anywhere in India.

Edmonton, Alberta...
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6. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

I'm in india right now sick as a dog. Maybe I'm just sensitive but the air polution and dust in Agra really messed with my throat and sinuses for a couple of days which triggered a scary fever yesterday with a pounding headache. . I obviously got out of the city area as soon as possible. Looking for a dust mask to avoid further problems.

Also after 3 weeks traveling and eating like a Sri Lankan and not having stomach issues I was sick within 24 hours of being in india. Which is not a huge issue unless it last more then a day.

India is an experience and I'm glad to be here but it has been getting the best of me.

agra
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7. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

Hire a good driver and guide they know all good and clean places to eat and stay.

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

Gee Nufan32, you don't sound well and hope you clear up real soon. I didn't like the pollution in Vietnam and I was able to buy a dust must easy there. I had sinus problems too in Vietnam. Sounds like it will be a good idea for me to be prepared with a mask in India. And why Agra ? Delhi's pollution and dust must be really bad too.

9. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

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Removed on: 30 January 2014, 07:05
Mumbai (Bombay...
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10. Re: Should we go to India ? The saying is you will get sick !!

There are excellent restaurants serving Western-style food for dinner. Typically they are upscale and not to be found in less expensive hotels. If you are travelling on a lower budget, then you can only get some horrid pastas and bad baked dishes in the cheaper hotels. In that case it is actually better, taste-wise, to head out to Pizza Hut or McDonalds or Dominos etc. But if you can afford a better meal, there are definitely Western options available in many places.

Edited: 30 January 2014, 06:34