The good news is that most travel-related sickness and injury can be prevented. You are likely to be a traveler who has an enjoyable trip free from illness or injury when you follow these tips:
- Be informed: Learn about travel health risks and what to do to avoid them before your trip.
- Be ready: Get any vaccinations (shots) or medicines that you will need before your trip.
- Be smart while you travel: Make sure you follow travel safety tips while you are on your trip.
Visit the Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) and Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) travel advise webpages to educate yourself about travel guidelines, international travel requirements and helpful travel preparation tips:
- Immunization for Travelers (WA DOH link)
- CDC Travel recommendations for:
- Travelers’ Rapid Health Information Portal
Important! Some countries require you to present a certificate that says you have had a yellow fever vaccination before you can enter. Only authorized healthcare providers can give the yellow fever vaccine. The vaccine should be given at least 10 days before travel and a stamped vaccine certificate will be issued to you by the immunization center.
If you have special considerations for travel such as planning to travel while pregnant, traveling with children, traveling with pets or maybe it's a last-minute trip without much planning at all, remember to read the specific advice Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has for you. The Traveler Advice webpage of the CDC Traveler's Health website area has several helpful resource links to help prompt some thoughtful travel preparations.
Before you go, be sure to review any illness or injury while abroad information available about what to do if you get sick or injured during your trip.
You should give yourself at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to get started on any required/recommended vaccinations (shots) or medicines. This will give your shots time to work so you will be protected during your trip. If it is less than four weeks before you leave, you should still talk with a Public Health Nurse at the OCPHD about preparing your health for the trip. It might not be too late to get your shots, medications, and other useful information.
Prepare a traveler's health kit so you have all the medications and supplies you may need before you go.
Be Smart While You Travel
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available and your hands are not visibly dirty, use alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol) to clean your hands.
- Drink only bottled or boiled water or carbonated (bubbly) drinks from sources you trust. Do not drink tap water or fountain drinks, or eat ice cubes.
- Only eat food that has been fully cooked or fruits and vegetables that have been washed and peeled by you. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!
- If visiting an area where you might get malaria, make sure to take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after your trip, as directed.
- If you might be bitten by insects (like mosquitoes or ticks), use insect repellent (bug spray) with 30-50% DEET. The label on the container will tell you the DEET content.
- Avoid poultry farms, bird markets, and other places where live poultry is raised or kept.
- Make sure you know how to protect yourself from injury while you travel. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury deaths in travelers. Swimming-related accidents are also a major cause of injury among travelers.
- Visit the CDC COVID-19 Travel page for current alerts, recommendations & reminders during the pandemic.
- Remember to plan your return home. Don't delay contacting your Healthcare provider if you don't feel well after you return from your trip.
If you follow the tips and recommendations your Healthcare provider and the CDC Travelers' Health site offer, you are more likely to remain healthy and safe, so you can enjoy your time away from home. You are welcome to call us at OCPHD to talk with one of our Community Health Nurses to discuss your travel health preparations, ask about possible resources or for help gaining access to vaccines & immunizations.
Happy and safe traveling!