Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some FAQs regarding Rabies vaccination for travelers

Q&A for travellers

I’m going to Asia/Africa/South America, should I be vaccinated against rabies?
Other than for short trips to main tourist destinations, all travellers should consider it. Gap-year travellers, frequent travellers, those on longer trips, anyone going far from the beaten track or likely to be in close contact with local communities or animals should have the vaccine.
Where can I be vaccinated?
Vaccine shortages are common, but at the moment the vaccine is readily available at specialist travel clinics. Rabies vaccine for travel is not provided on the NHS (for British Nationals). In India, luckily we do not have any shortage of vaccination in the private sector, and any good clinic/ hospital should be able to provide you the same.
What’s the down side?
There isn’t one, apart from the cost (£25-£70 per dose) and the need for a three-dose course over three weeks (cost in Britain). In India, the cost is approximately INR 300-500 per dose (~ 5 pounds per dose)
What if there is not enough time to complete the course?
Ask your travel clinic for advice. For short trips, last-minute vaccination may be unhelpful unless you have future trips in mind. But if you are about to leave for a longer trip, it is sometimes worth starting the course before you go and taking the remaining doses with you.
What contact carries a risk?
Rabies can affect any mammal, though most cases are transmitted by dog saliva. You don’t need to be bitten: licks or scratches, especially on damaged or broken skin, are also a risk.
What should I do if I am bitten?
Scrub and rinse the wound thoroughly, and disinfect with alcohol or strong antiseptic. Get prompt local advice, and back this up with a call to your travel insurance company, your doctor in the UK, or a specialist travel clinic. Always report a bite, and seek specialist help.
Without prior rabies vaccination, you may need a rapid vaccine course, plus an injection of rabies immune globulin (RIG). RIG is scarce and very expensive, and reliable treatment can be hard to find. This is true for many places in India also, especially finding the HUMAN RIG can be difficult and costly (Approximately INR 5,000 per vial, and adults may need 2-4 vials)
With the pre-travel (“pre-exposure”) rabies vaccination, simple booster doses are all that are needed following a bite. These provide full protection.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Travel Health News - British Traveler dies from Rabies after Dog bite in India

The unnamed woman contracted the disease as a result of an untreated bite from a dog in India. Her death has prompted the WHO to introduce detailed country-by-country advice on pre-travel rabies vaccination, to sit alongside recommendations for yellow fever and malaria protection.
In the case of India, for example, it now says: “Rabies: High risk – Pre-exposure immunisation [is] recommended for travellers and other people for whom contact with domestic animals, particularly dogs, and other rabies vectors is likely” – advice that is repeated verbatim for almost every other tropical country.
My take: India is a country that is endemic to dogs, dog bites and rabies. We have an estimated 40,000 people dying due to Rabies every year, with every 3rd rabies death occurring in India!
This unfortunate death brings forth the need for all travelers to remember that while traveling to International & exotic destinations can be fun and life changing experience, we must remember to keep up to date with travel vaccinations & other health advisory before embarking on these trips.
Here are the CDC guidelines for travelers in to India, take care and remain healthy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happiness Tips

Happiness Tips
Dr. Tal Ben Shahar psychologist, Harvard professor & author of “Happier: Finding Pleasure, Meaning & Life’s Ultimate Currency” 
1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions — such as fear, sadness, or anxiety — as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration & unhappiness.
2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure & meaning. The goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant & enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure & meaning.
3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?
4. Simplify! We are, too busy, trying to squeeze in more & more activities into less & less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.
5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do — or don’t do — with our bodies, influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical & mental health.
6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. Learn to appreciate & savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

My Take:
I especially love point no.1 & 6 .....
Need to ACCEPT negative emotions as a part of oneself, and then work on reducing them, rather than creating negative self esteem and hating oneself for 'feeling' inappropriately.
Learning to love the small & wonderful things is what makes it all worthwhile.
Also enjoying positive qualities of others, focusing less on people and more on ideas would make one happier :)