Before traveling abroad, you should know what to do if you suffer from a travel disease during your trip. A list of routine, recommended and required travel immunizations can be accessed by clicking on your country of destination using our website's world map (see Find Your Destination). But, there are many other things to consider when traveling outside the United States. If you are already suffering with a disease, be certain to discuss your health condition with a travel doctor during your pre-trip consultation.
If you are currently taking prescription medications, don't forget to take an ample supply with you. In fact, the CDC recommends that you put together a basic travel kit to care for minor health problems and to treat pre-existing medical conditions while abroad.
You can reduce your risks of travel illness by studying each country of destination and taking the appropriate precautions. As you may have already learned, it is very important to be careful about the food and water you consume while traveling outside the United States. In some parts of the world, you should avoid tap water and only drink bottled water or carbonated drinks from cans or bottles (no fountain drinks). For additional tips on staying healthy while traveling abroad, ask your travel doctor during your pre-trip consultation.
Preventing Travel Diseases
Some of the most serious travel diseases are transmitted by mosquitos or other biting insects. Using an insect repellent with DEET or Picaridin can be effective in protecting uncovered skin during particular times of the day when outdoor activities are planned. The CDC recommends repellents that contain 30% to 50% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) for adult travelers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that DEET repellants should not be used on infants less than 2 months old. In many cases, infants can be draped with mosquito netting or wrapped in their blankets to reduce exposed areas of skin. For adults, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors can significantly reduce the risks of insect-borne disease such as malaria or Japanese encephalitis. When in doubt, always take the highest level of precautions when you travel.
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