I'm going for a one week long business trip to India (Mumbai city only). I'm from Poland / Europe, if that matters. My trip is about to start within next week or two, so I was told, that taking any vaccines is a bad idea, as they can do more harm to me, than I can benefit from them.

Are there any non-vaccine medicines (pills?), that I can or should take? I've heard, that I should consider taking anti-malaria tablets.

I've also heard a separate opinion, that Mumbai is the most "European" of all India cities and states, and when travelling only there and only for a short term, I don't need to consider a lot of health issues. Can this be confirmed by someone?

Are there any non-medicine, general precaution advises, that I should keep in my mind? 95% of my time spent in India / Mumbai I'll be travelling between hotel, client's office and airport, if that matters.

  • 2
    Check your country's health ministry/department website (US CDC is mine) in addition to whatever's posted here.
    – Urbana
    Feb 23, 2016 at 20:19
  • Just curious, do you have any medical conditions for which you have to take pills/medicines ?
    – abkds
    Feb 25, 2016 at 7:18
  • @AbKDs No, I don't have and even if I did, that would be out of scope of this question as too localized. I'm talking about general rules for medicines and safety. To reference malaria, mosquito etc.
    – trejder
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:00
  • 1
    See the point is as you told you will be mostly travelling between hotel, client's office and airport. These places would be pretty clean with mosquitoes not being much of a problem. Still I would suggest carry anti-malaria tabs. Plus on a general note (not related to meds), Mumbai is a humid place, and it would be very hot compared to Poland
    – abkds
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:08
  • @AbKDs This looks like an answer, not comment. Care to rewrite it, maybe add some information about anti-malaria tabs (since you suggest to carry it with me, while I heard, that they're useful only when taken week or two prior to trip) and I'll more than happy to accept your answer and bring you some rep.
    – trejder
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:13

2 Answers 2


Chicken Pox

Mumbai is a hotter place than Poland and it is best to carry tabs for Chicken pox if you are supposed to travel during Summer. Chicken pox is more common than Malaria. Unlike Malaria you may not find tablets for Chicken pox in many pharmacies particularly if you are outside the city. This is mainly due to the fact that we Indians mainly use Neem leaves to treat Chicken pox rather than using pills, particularly in small towns and villages.

Mosquitoes & Malaria

Mosquitoes will not be of much problem if you are spending most of the time in hotel and offices. Although it is best to have mosquito repellents with you.

Malaria tabs are not that much needed provided in the places you are visiting mosquitoes will be less. I live in India and I can say that it is unlikely to catch Malaria if you stay hygiene. As you can see in this WHO article here Malaria is sharply reducing in India. If you ever need Malaria tabs they are available in almost all the pharmacies in Mumbai. So it is not a big issue unless you are visiting places that are less hygiene and have mosquito problems such as slums near by water areas.

General precaution

A general precaution is to always take boiled /mineral water with you. India is a hotter place and you may need a lot of water. It is best to have boiled/mineral water with you. I suggest you to drink Boiled/Mineral water at all times possible, don't drink water from public taps without boiling though it may have a label drinking water. You can also refer this article here which says,

Most of India's tap water is unfit for consumption. Restaurants will offer treated drinking water, but it’s advisable for visitors to always drink bottled water.


Malaria is not an extremely serious concern in Mumbai, especially if you are only going to be there a week, and the thin protection that anti-malarials give you isn't really worth the nausea they deliver much more reliably.

My recommendation for anywhere that isn't an actual swamp is DEET, a effective, long-acting insect repellent. It chases away malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes and many other biting and stinging insects.

The problem is, for various reasons, DEET is not available inside India, you have to bring your own. In tropical countries other than India you can buy it at any corner shop; in temperate countries, you have to go to sporting-goods stores. I like 100% DEET formulations but if your skin is at all sensitive, buy the 25% bottle (the 7% is a waste of time, imo). Pump-spray or cream is better than powder. Put it in a plastic bag before you put it in your luggage, in case of leaks.

As Kolappan Nathan says, don't drink the water. Actually, that's probably good advice whenever you leave your home country -- you are well-adapted to the flora in your native water, but less so to foreign germs -- but it's especially true in India, where much of the water supply is contaminated with fecal matter and worse.

And bring some Imodium or buy it as soon as you land. Mumbai is the gastroenteritis capital of the universe, and you do not want to be limping to the chemist's shop after it strikes.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .