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Originally published Friday, December 8, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Health tips for travel in India

Staying healthy in India requires preparation and sometimes some quick thinking. Everyone should consult his or her own health-care provider...

Seattle Times travel writer

Staying healthy in India requires preparation and sometimes some quick thinking.

Everyone should consult his or her own health-care provider on how to prepare for international travel.

In three weeks of travel, I didn't get sick. I minimized the risk by avoiding street food, raw vegetables, red meat and chicken, and consulting the travel nurses at Group Health Cooperative before I left. On their advice, I updated my tetanus shot, filled prescriptions for malaria and diarrhea, used mosquito repellent with Deet, and took a preventative dose of two Pepto Bismol tablets before meals.

For those who don't belong to Group Health, the University of Washington Travel Medicine Clinic (http://depts.washington.edu/travmed) offers advice and services for travelers. Call 206-598-4888 for an appointment.

It's important to stay flexible and be prepared to rearrange plans.

There were outbreaks of mosquito-borne Dengue fever in Northern India and Chikungunya in Kerala during the time I traveled.

I stayed on top of developments by reading English-language local papers, and talking to other travelers. A British couple I met reversed the order of their trip to arrive in Kerala later rather than sooner on the theory that spraying would begin and the virus would subside with time. Things were under control by the time I arrived, and I was able to go ahead with my plans.

— Carol Pucci

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