Published On: Thu, Jun 3rd, 2010

Quick health and safety tips before traveling abroad


There are things you can and should do to better prepare yourself for things that can potentially go wrong while out of the country. Here is a convenient checklist of things you can do to make your trip safer for you and your family.

1. Learn about the health risks in the country you are visiting to include diseases, weather and security issues

2. See a travel medicine physician or other physician who is knowledgeable about travel medicine at least 4-6 weeks prior to leaving

3. If you are bringing small children, are pregnant, have a disability or are immunocompromised; ensure your physician that you’re seeing is aware of your situation.

4. When packing for overseas travel; Place a copy of your passport and travel documents in each piece of luggage, in case you lose the original documents. Don’t forget to leave a copy with a friend or relative at home.

5. Pack a first aid kit for this particular trip. Include things that may not be easy to buy at your destination, over the counter medications, insect spray, etc.

6. Pack prescription medications in carryon baggage.

7. Check to see if your health insurance covers you overseas.

8. Consider purchasingtravel medical insurance and medical evacuation insurance depending on your destination.

9. Learn in advance where the closest hospitals and doctors are in the place you are visiting.

10. Write down and keep with you the phone number and address of the US Embassy or consulate office closest to where you’ll be staying

11. Register with the Department of State about your travel. Registration is very helpful if you find yourself in a situation where there is unexpected civil unrest or a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane.

12. Take care of yourself while overseas; be careful with food and water, use of insect repellent, driving, etc.

13. If after you come back home and get sick, make sure you tell your doctor about your overseas travel.

This list is not exhaustive, but should give you a heads up on things you can do to be better informed and prepared.

Have a nice vacation.

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About the Author

- Robert Herriman, MPH,M(ASCP) is a health, politics and world news writer at the

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