Get Informed about Health Warnings for Your Destination
- To find out about current Outbreaks section of the CDC Traveler’s Health.
- To find out about current U.S. Department of State travel warnings and public announcements, see http://travel.state.gov
All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
- Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
- Don’t eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
- Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.
To stay healthy, do…
- Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
- Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
- Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
- Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
- Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
- Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
- DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
- Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
- To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
To avoid getting sick…
- Don’t eat food purchased from street vendors. Do not drink beverages with ice.
- Don’t handle animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague).
What you need to bring with you:
- Insect repellent containing DEET.
- Bed nets impregnated with permethrin. (Can be purchased in camping or military supply stores. Overseas, permethrin or another insecticide, deltamethrin, may be purchased to treat bed nets and clothes.)
- Flying-insect spray or mosquito coils to help clear rooms of mosquitoes. The product should contain a pyrethroid insecticide; these insecticides quickly kill flying insects, including mosquitoes.
- Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine to take if you have diarrhea.
- Iodine tablets and water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available.
- Sunblock, sunglasses, hat.
- Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s).
After you return home:
If you become ill after your trip—even as long as a year after you return—tell your doctor where you have traveled.
For more information:
Ask your doctor or check the CDC web sites for specific information about the areas to which you will be traveling.
This document is not a complete medical guide for travelers. Consult with your doctor for specific information related to your needs and your medical history; recommendations may differ for pregnant women, young children, and persons who have chronic medical conditions.
Be sure to read the information about all the regions you are planning to visit.