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Traveler Health Information

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Why is it important to think about health while traveling?

United States residents make approximately 60 million trips to other countries each year (1). More than half of travelers to developing countries become ill during their trip. It is estimated that about 8% of travelers seek medical care for a travel-associated illness either during or after travel (2).

Be sure to keep the following information in mind as you prepare to travel outside of the United States to ensure that your trip is a success.

Before Traveling

See a doctor or other healthcare provider 4-6 weeks before your trip. Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on your destination, the length of your stay, the types of activities you will be involved in during your trip, and previous vaccinations you have received. If necessary, refill prescriptions to make sure you remain healthy.

Additional information and resources:

While Traveling

There are actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases, so your behaviors are important.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating
  • Avoid eating undercooked food and drinking contaminated water
  • Wear appropriate clothing and apply insect repellent to prevent bug bites

Additional information and resources:

After Traveling

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip.

Additional information and resources:

Travel-Associated Illnesses

  • For information on Zika virus disease, please visit the following page.
  • To learn more about specific illnesses, such as malaria, cholera, chikungunya, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and yellow fever, please review our Disease Fact Sheets.