As the old adage goes ‘Prevention is better than cure’, it is still best to guard your health against any diseases and danger when embarking on a vacation. Obviously, no one wants to travel to a new place and get sick, spoiling the entire vacation that was prepared for months. Even though there are no serious health threats or epidemics in Goa, health measures must be considered by everyone. Check out some tips to protect your health in Goa including local health care institutions available in the state.
In terms of endemic diseases, amongst the currently prevalent in Goa are malaria, typhoid, TB, amoebiasis, infectious hepatitis, salmonella infections, STDs such as Hepatitis B and AIDS, and traveler’s diarrhea. As such, prior to your trip to Goa, several required and recommended vaccinations should be administered to protect your health in Goa from being affected by these diseases. It is advisable to schedule your vaccination during a consultation with your physician, along with an International Health Certificate that you are required to carry along with you.
The only required vaccination when entering India is yellow fever vaccination. Other recommended immunizations include Hepatitis A & B, diphtheria and tetanus, polio, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid and Japanese B encephalitis. In addition, it is suggested to have adequate health insurance before booking a trip to Goa.
For food and water safety, do not eat any uncooked food like salads, coconut chutneys, pani-puri and bhel-puri. Refrain from mayonnaise-based dishes like coleslaw. If you are really keen on mayonnaise, bring your own bottle of mayo with you. Before consuming any raw vegetables or fruits, make sure to peel it before consumption. Tap water in Goa is not recommended for drinking. Refrain from drinking lassi, yogurt drinks, unboiled water, milk shakes and those streetside ‘limboo-sodh’. Buy bottled water and canned drinks when traveling. When eating in public restaurants or eateries, ask for distilled water.
When it comes to medications, there are numerous pharmacies across Goa towns that are well-stocked and selling locally-manufactured medicines under the license of established foreign pharmaceutical companies. Most hotels also have on-call doctors and resident nurses to take care of customers with physical complaints.
Numerous experienced and qualified general physicians and specialists are available in Goa. With only a few exceptions, they usually practice in cities and towns. In villages, the medical practice is basic. Health care at some private hospitals such as Goa Medical College Hospital in Bambolim is good. Most medical facilities and hospitals in Goa are concentrated in Panaji, Margao, Mapusa and Vasco da Gama. Several ambulance services run by government, private and charitable institutions are available on call.
When swimming in Goa beaches, note that some are polluted while other popular ones have deceivingly placid waters but have strong undercurrents especially in the Baga, Calangute and Betul beaches. Even though you are a good swimmer, swim with caution.
To protect your health in Goa and avoid any form of discomfort while on travel, follow safety precautions such as those that say don’t walk alone at night, don’t carry plenty of cash, don’t swim in prohibited areas, don’t drink and drive and always carry your hotel address with you.