Considerations for Travel

Healthy travel

Food and Water Safety

Travelers diarrhea-is the most common travel related illness. It is rarely serious or life threatening. Prevention is key!

How to Prevent

  • Keep your hands clean
  • Avoid unclean food and water. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe foods and water
  • Eat food that has been cooked and served hot
  • Wash your own fruit with clean water or peel the fruit
  • Drink pasteurized dairy products


  • You May Drink
  • Water, sodas, or any drink in a sealed bottle (carbonated is safer- you see the bubbles)
  • Water that has been disinfected (boiled, filtered, treated)
  • Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
  • Hot coffee or tea

Do Not Consume:

  • Food from street vendors
  • Raw or soft cooked (runny) eggs
  • Raw or undercooked meat or fish
  • Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
  • Salads (only eat salads if at a resort)
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • “Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)
  • Untreated water

Avoid Bug Bites

Bugs (including mosquitoes, ticks, and some flies) can spread a number of disease.

Insect Repellents

DEET is used as the active ingredient in many insect repellents. DEET is designed for direct application to skin to repel insects, rather than kill them. Products containing DEET currently are available in a variety of liquids, lotions, sprays and impregnated materials such as wrist bands and clothing. Concentrations of DEET in products that are designed for application to skin range from 4% to 100%.

Prevent Bug Bites

Prevent mosquito bites

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants and hats.
  • Stay and sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

Prevent Tick bites

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, and hates. Tuck in shirts, tuck pants into socks and wear closed shoes instead of sandals to prevent bites.
  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass, brush, and leaves. Walk in the center of hiking trails.

Prevent Tsetse Fly Bites

  • The tsetse fly lives in sub-Saharan Africa and can spread African sleeping sickness.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Clothing fabric should be at least medium weight because the tsetse fly can bite through thin fabric.
  • Wear neutral colored clothing. The tsetse fly is attracted to bright colors, very dark colors, metallic fabric and the color blue.

Treatment for bug bites

  • Avoid scratching bug bites
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce itching.


  • Check your entire body (under arms, in and around your ears, belly button, behind your knee’s between your legs, around your waist, and especially in your hair) for ticks.
  • Be sure to remove ticks properly


  • Malaria is serious and can be life threatening. It is caused by a parasite that can infect a certain type of mosquito.
  • Malaria occurs in many tropical and subtropical countries.
  • Symptoms of Malaria include fever and flu like illness, including chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea and vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.

How to prevent Malaria

  • Take an antimalarial drug (discussed and prescribed at your travel consult at the Health Center, Public Health or Family Health Provider). All medications have side effects. Minor side effects are nausea, occasional vomiting or diarrhea, these symptoms do not require you to stop the medication. If you develop a rash stop the medication immediately and seek medical care if you can.
  • Prevent mosquito bites

Antimalarial Prophylaxis Options

1. Malarone- dosage 250/100- Start 1-2 days before exposuretake with food or milk. If vomiting occurs within one hour repeat dose. Discontinue 7 days after exposure.

2. Doxycycline-dosage 100mg -Start 1-2 days before exposure. Discontinue 4 weeks after exposure. Photosensitivity (sunburn faster) - wear sunscreen or cover up!

Yellow Fever

  • Occurs via a bite of an infected mosquito, mostly during daylight. Human-to-human blood borne transmission can occur.
  • Most symptoms are asymptomatic, but clinical illness can present in 2 ways.

Initial presentation:
flu like symptoms such as fever, muscular pain, headache, chills, N/V, anorexia and bradycardia.

Severe presentation:
resurgence of fever, development of jaundice, abdominal pain, vomiting and hemorrhagic manifestations

Yellow Fever Prevention

  • Yellow Fever vaccination may be required
  • Failure to provide proof of vaccination may result in a traveler being quarantined, vaccinated on site or refusal into the country.
  • Vaccine needs to be given at least 10 days before entering the high risk country. Takes 14 days for to be 100% protected (seroconversion).
  • Given in one dose – re-immunization is needed after 10 years.
  • Vaccine should not be administered to an individual with a history of hypersensitivity to eggs.
  • The Yellow Fever Vaccine should not be administered to those who are immunocompromised as it is a live-virus vaccine.

Typhoid Fever

Life threatening illness

Symptoms: fever, headache, malaise, anorexia, insomnia, and macular rash.

Typhoid fever spreads by humans by the consumption of water or food that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected individual.

The Typhoid Vaccine at the Student Health Center is available as an oral vaccine and is effective for 5 years. Details about the oral vaccine are discussed during your travel consult.


Rabies is found in all continents.

90% of rabies across the world is carried by dogs, but other wildlife species also transmit rabies, bats, mongoose and bat eared foxes.

Rabies is transmitted when saliva from a rabid animal enters the body through a bite. The virus travels to the brain and causes encephalitis (fever, anxiety, spasms of the swallowing muscles, delirium, convulsions, and can progress to a coma/ death within 1-2 weeks if not treated).

Pre-exposure vaccinations may be recommended depending on the country or area being visited.

Meningococcal Disease

  • Meningococcal disease is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, although cases are found worldwide.
  • Bacteria infection- 5-10% individuals may be asymptomatic carriers.
  • Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, and other neurological signs. The disease can rapidly become fatal.
  • Vaccines are readily available.

Vaccination is required for travelers to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Recommended to the “meningitis belt” of Africa (from Senegal to Ethiopia) during the dry season (December through June).

Be Aware of the Sun!

Travelers spending time outdoors, especially those traveling near the equator, during summer months, and at high altitudes, are exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays, even on cloudy days!

Protect yourself:

  • Use sunscreen! –Use SPF15 or higher and apply liberally at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every 2 hours. (Be sure to apply to all exposed skin including ears, scalp, neck, lips, and tops of feet too!) If you are also using bug spray, apply the sunscreen first.
  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours
  • Wear clothing to cover exposed skin- Hats, long sleeves, etc.

Treating a Sunburn:

  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain, headache, and fever.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Use a topical moisturizing cream or aloe to provide additional relief
  • Should skin blister, lightly bandage the area with gauze to prevent infection. Don’t break the blisters! Should they break on their own, apply antiseptic ointment.

Counterfeit Drugs

Counterfeit (fake) medicines are made using incorrect or harmful ingredients which are packaged and labeled to look like real brand-name and generic drugs. These medicines are extremely unsafe as they may not be effective and could also cause serious harm to you. If you must buy medicine during your trip, consider these tips to reduce chances of buying counterfeit drugs:

  • Buy medicines only from licensed pharmacies and get a receipt. Do NOT buy from open markets
  • Make sure the medicine is in its original packaging
  • Look closely at the packaging as sometimes poor-quality printing or otherwise strange packaging will indicate a counterfeit product.
  • Ask the pharmacist if the drug has the same active ingredient as the one you normally take.

Mental Health

International travel can be fun, but can also be stressful. Traveling can spark mood changes, depression, and anxiety even if normally uncharacteristic, or worsen symptoms in people with existing mental illness. Anticipating the possible stresses can help you cope with some of these feelings.

Before Traveling: Talk to your doctor about your physical and mental health history. If you are taking prescription medications, be sure to pack them in their original containers with a copy of the prescription. Be sure to bring more of your medicine along with you than you think you will need as you may not be able to get refills at your destination.

While Traveling: Take care of your health by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Get help immediately if you feel stressed, anxious, or depressed. If you take medicines to treat a mental health condition, be sure to continue your normal routine to stay on course with your treatment

What You Need to Pack


Long sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat to wear when outside.
Insect repellent –DEET
Sunscreen and sunglasses
Bed net if sleeping outside
Antimalarial medications
Antidiarrheal medication (Imodium)
Tylenol or ibuprofen
Antihistamine (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin, etc.)
Antibacterial ointment
1% hydrocortisone cream
Antibacterial hand wipes
Regular prescription medications *in original containers*- enough to last duration of the travel

Travel Consults

Travel consults are required at the health center, although students may choose to have vaccinations administered by his/her primary care health provider at home, or at a Public Health Department. Specific vaccination requirements and information will be reviewed and discussed at this time pertaining to the area of travel.

Travel Consults can be scheduled by calling the Student Health Center at 315-229-5392

Students are advised to review the Vaccination Price List, visit the CDC website to review the recommendations for the country of travel, and discuss plans for vaccinations with parents prior to the appointment.