General Travel Considerations

  • Do not wade or swim in freshwater lakes, rivers or standing water such as rice paddies; parasites such as schistosomes are transmitted in this way. Bathing water may be heated to 50 degree Celsius (120 Fahrenheit) or treated with iodine to kill schistosomes.
  • Do not walk barefoot. Such diseases as hookworm and tetanus are transmitted from the soil. Take comfortable shoes for walking.
  • Tuberculosis is more prevalent in developing countries. If prolonged contact with the local population is anticipated, a skin test for tuberculosis should be done before and after travel.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk or cheese.
  • Medications taken regularly should be obtained before departure and noted in the International Certificate of Vaccination. Travelers with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, should consider using a Medic-Alert bracelet. Always carry prescription medications in their original containers. Unmarked medications can arouse suspicion. Some countries require that physicians’ prescriptions accompany the medications. Try to obtain these before departure. Keep a list of all your medications in your billfold. Also, consider taking a copy of your medical records if you have a chronic health problem, e.g., copy of a recent EKG.