Traveling This Summer? Here Are Tips for Safe and Healthy Travel...
June 12, 2004)
Top Travel Tips
Wash your hands frequently
with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub,
especially before eating.
Drink only boiled or bottled
water or carbonated drinks from sources you trust. Avoid
tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes.
Eat only fully cooked food or
fruits and vegetables you have peeled. Remember: boil it,
cook it, peel it, or forget it!
If visiting an area where
there is risk for malaria, take
malaria prevention medication before, during, and after your trip, as
If you might be bitten by
insects (like mosquitoes or ticks) use insect repellent
(bug spray) with up to 50% DEET.
Know what to do to
prevent injuries during your trip.
Each year millions of Traveler
abroad for vacation or to visit friends and family. By the year
2000, approximately 60 million international passengers traveled
by air from the United States annually. Over a third of them
traveled to developing countries, where the risk of contracting
infectious diseases is higher. About half of international
travelers get sick or injured (hurt) during their trip. In 2002,
849 cases of malaria reported to CDC
-warming the climatic globalwarming, Awareness by Eclipsis Globalwarming
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were related to travel
overseas. Of the approximately 400 cases of typhoid fever each
year in the U.S., 70% are related to trips abroad. In 1997, 40% of
all preventable deaths of U.S. citizens abroad were due to
The good news is that most
travel-related sickness and injury can be prevented. You are
likely to be a traveler who has an enjoyable trip free from
illness or injury when you follow these tips:
- Be informed:
Learn about travel health risks and what to do to avoid them
before your trip.
- Be ready:
Get any vaccinations (shots) or medicines that you will need for
- Be smart while you
travel: Make sure you follow travel safety tips while
you are on your trip.
1. Be Informed
Four to 6 weeks before
your trip find out what you need to know about staying healthy and
safe in the area where you are traveling by visiting the
Travelers' Health website. Using the site is simple. Choose the
destination (by region) you are traveling to and you will get
- disease and safety risks and
how to avoid them
- special notices about
outbreaks or other disease activity
- what vaccinations (shots) or
preventive medications (prophylaxis) you should or will be
required to get
countries require you to show them a certificate
that says you have had a yellow fever vaccination before you can
enter. Only registered healthcare providers can give the yellow
If you are
pregnant or traveling with children, traveling with
pets, or if
you are a
traveler with special needs, do not forget to read the specific
advice CDC has for you.
To be on the safe side,
Health Hints for the International Traveler before you go. This web page will help
you know what to do if you do get sick or hurt on your trip. On
this page you will also learn how to handle altitude sickness,
extreme heat and cold, and other special situations.
If you are going on a cruise,
cruise ship travel recommendations, and
cruise ship inspection scores from the Vessel Sanitation Program.
For health-care providers,
textbook-style information is also available in the CDC
publication, Health Information for International Travel,
also known as the “Yellow Book”. The 2003-2004 edition includes a new chapter on
traveling with children, new text on scuba diving and high-risk
travelers, new recommendations on malaria prophylaxis and yellow
fever vaccination, and expanded text on altitude sickness, to name
2. Be Ready
If you will need any
vaccinations (shots) or medicines, go to your healthcare provider
travel medicine clinic 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. This will
give your shots time to work so that you will be protected during
your trip. If it is less than four weeks before you leave, you
should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your
shots or medications.
traveler's health kit
so you have all the medications and
supplies you may need before you go.
3. Be Smart While You Travel
- Wash your hands often and
well with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub to help
kill germs, especially before eating! If you are going on a
read this fact sheet about handwashing, too. (in Adobe PDF format)
- Drink only boiled or bottled
water or soft drinks from sources you trust. Do not
drink tap water, fountain drinks, or eat ice cubes.
- Only eat food that has been
cooked all the way through or fruits and vegetables that have
been washed and peeled. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel
it, or forget it.
- If visiting an area where you
might get malaria, make sure to take your
malaria prevention medication
before, during, and after
your trip, as directed.
- If you might be bitten by
insects (like mosquitoes or ticks) use insect repellent (bug
spray) with up to 50% DEET. The label on the container will tell
you the DEET content.
- Make sure you know how to
keep yourself from being
injured (hurt) while you travel.
Follow the tips and
recommendations your healthcare provider and the CDC Travelers'
Health site offer, and you are more likely to remain healthy and
safe, so you can enjoy your time away from home.