Whether it be a cross-country trip or a flight across the ocean to your favorite tropical paradise, summer is the time where we plan our big vacations. This year I planned a trip to Thailand, and although I am incredibly excited and in my planning phase for sites and things to do, there are also preparations I’m going to take before I arrive in order to prevent illness or disease.
If you are traveling abroad, there are several precautions you should take to stay safe and have peace of mind for your health while you explore. When traveling to a foreign country, you always want to see if there are required or suggested vaccinations. Many countries do not require this, but many have suggested vaccines to help prevent from diseases that are common in that area. For example, in Thailand there is a risk for Hepatitis A and Typhoid from contaminated food or water, so my doctor recommended that I receive vaccines for both. You can check the vaccine and medication list on CDC.gov and also consult your doctor for a list of suggested vaccinations. I recommend making an appointment with your doctor a month or so prior to your travel date as many vaccinations require a series of shots or oral treatments.
In addition to getting vaccinated, here are some additional tips for safe and health travel abroad:
- Be cautious about what you eat and drink.
Unclean food and water can cause travelers' diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits. Click here to see what to eat and what not to eat.
- Prevent bug bites.
Mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects can transmit a number of diseases including malaria and encephalitis. Many diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. Use insect repellent when outdoors and wear long sleeves and long pants to prevent insect bites. Learn more about insect bite prevention here.
- Have an ample supply of medication.
Keep all prescription and over-the-counter medicines in original, labeled containers. Do not use pill cases or other unlabeled containers. Bring over-the-counter medicine for fever, pain relief and anti-diarrhea.
- Have your insurance information cards and claim forms with you.
- Obtain validation of your immunization record and keep it with your passport.
- Check with your insurance carrier to see if you are covered outside of the U.S.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy yourself! Learn more about travel tips for going abroad here.