Health Tips on International Travel
Before you go
- Make an appointment with your student health center or your family doctor (allow 6-8 weeks).
- Obtain a summary of your medical history including your immunization status.
- Review your current or present health insurance coverage.
- Be prepared to pay cash for services overseas.
- Keep all receipts for future reimbursement.
- Obtain adequate amounts of regular and special medications to cover the entire trip in carry-on luggage.
- Consider an eye and dental exam before departure.
- Extra contacts/glasses
- eye care solutions (cleaners, disinfectants, saline)
You may need immunizations against diseases that are not a risk in the United States. Seek advice on these from qualified professionals.
- Water is unsafe in may developing countries, especially where sanitation facilities are poor.
- Freezing does not sanitize water, ice cubes may not be safe.
- Water treatment processes
- There are hand pump filters that can be purchased and are very good in removing visible bacteria, such as coliform and E.Coli (99.3-99.9%). Available at sporting goods stores.
- Safe drinks include:
- boiled water
- carbonated beverages (soda, beer, wine from the original container)
- drinks made with boiling water
- iodine treated water
- Undercooked meats, seafood and shellfish are risky.
- Raw fruits and vegetables should be avoided, unless prepared by the traveler.
- Non-pasteurized milk and milk products may be unsafe.
- Food purchased from street vendors may be dangerous.
- If you cannot cook it, peel it or boil it, forget it.
- Mosquitoes, ticks and fleas are the most common carriers of disease. Wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants and hats, will minimize area of exposed skin. Pant legs should be tucked into socks, shirts tucked into pants.
- If going to an area where Malaria is prevalent, strongly consider taking medication to prevent Malaria. Seek advice form qualified professionals.
- Insect repellents should contain 30% DEET for use on clothes, shoes, bed nets and outdoor gear. Higher concentrations can result in toxicity.
- Examples of repellent include: Deep Woods Off, Repel, etc.
- Plan ahead for emergency departure back to the United States
- Identify the American Embassy and Consulate in the country of travel.
- In serious emergency, get to the largest medical facility available.
- Identify how to make an overseas call.
It is important to seek medical attention if you become ill after returning from travel. Tell your healthcare provider where you have been, what foods you may have eaten, what drinks you may have had or if you recall being bitten by any insects.
Traveler's First Aid Kit
For more information:
Travel Tips and Education
- Contact lens cleaning solutions, disinfectant (e.g. hydrogen peroxide)
- First aid guide book
- Insect repellent with DEET, isopropyl alcohol
- Over the counter medications for colds and fever, headache, allergies, menstrual cramps or other regular medications
- Pencil and paper, scissors, small flashlight
- Soap (Dial, Safeguard), sunscreen SPF 15 or greater
- Tape, bandages and gauze with tape
- Triple Antibiotic Cream - if not allergic to neomycin, bacitracin or streptomycin
- Water purification tablets (iodine, etc.)