Stay Healthy When You Travel

The Basics

Start Today: Small Steps

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The Basics

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Before you travel outside the United States, plan ahead to stay healthy and safe on your trip.

Answer these questions as you plan your trip:

Do I need any vaccines (shots) or medicines to prevent diseases?
Different diseases are common in different parts of the world. Getting certain vaccines and medicines before traveling can protect you from local diseases. For example: 

To stay healthy and safe on your trip, do your homework on the place you’ll be visiting:

Will the food and water be safe?
In some countries, the tap water isn’t safe to drink – especially for people who aren’t used to it. Even if the tap water doesn’t affect the people who live there, it might have germs that could make you sick. These germs can cause diarrhea (frequent, watery poop) and other health problems.

In places where the tap water isn’t safe to drink, you need to be careful about what you eat, too. Some foods, like fresh vegetables and fruits, may not be safe to eat because they are washed or cooked with unsafe water.

Get more information about food and water safety for travelers.

Will I be able to get the medicines I need?
It can be difficult to get medicines when you are traveling. You might not be allowed to bring some types of medicine in other countries — even if you can easily buy them in the United States.

It’s always a good idea to make a plan so you have any medicine you might need.

What happens if I get sick while I’m traveling?
It can be scary if you need medical help when you are far from home – especially if you don’t speak the local language. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are prepared.

Before you leave, make a list of the places you could go for help if you get sick. For example, the United States has offices – called embassies and consulates – in many parts of the world. Employees at U.S. embassies and consulates can help U.S. citizens in emergencies.

Am I at risk for health problems during travel?
Some people are more likely to have health problems when traveling outside the United States. Visit your doctor before planning a trip to another country, especially if you:

Depending on your situation, the doctor may recommend that you not travel right now.


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