Medicines and Vaccinations
Medicine and Medical Help
Bring your own medicines
if you are taking any. Brand names may differ as all medicines are
manufactured locally. If you ever need a doctor, please ask the
hotel to recommend one. Most hotels have some physicians on call at
Please consult Public
Health Services and / or your physician for their current
recommendations. Review your health insurance policies / coverage if
you are covered for overseas treatment, hospitalization and medical
evacuation. Get a physical. It is better at home than on road. Get
any needed immunizations. Have your prescriptions filled. Take extra
doses separately. Carry prescription in original. Have your doctor
use generic names of your medicine as trade names vary from country
to country. Get a letter from your doctor outlining your current
treatment and illness, if any.
During Your Trip
Prevent Insect Bites
Many diseases, like
malaria and dengue, are spread through insect bites. One of the best
protections is to prevent insect bites by:
Using insect repellent (bug spray) with 30%-50% DEET. Picaridin,
available in 7% and 15% concentrations, needs more frequent
application. There is less information available on how effective
picaridin is at protecting against all of the types of mosquitoes
that transmit malaria.
Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat outdoors.
Remaining indoors in a screened or air-conditioned area during the
peak biting period for malaria (dusk and dawn).
Sleeping in beds covered by nets treated with permethrin, if not
sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room.
Spraying rooms with products effective against flying insects, such
as those containing pyrethroid.
For detailed information about insect repellent use, see Insect and
Prevent Animal Bites and Scratches
Direct contact with
animals can spread diseases like rabies or cause serious injury or
illness. It is important to prevent animal bites and scratches.
Be sure you are up to
date with tetanus vaccination.
Do not touch or feed any
animals, including dogs and cats. Even animals that look like
healthy pets can have rabies or other diseases.
Help children stay safe
by supervising them carefully around all animals.
If you are bitten or
scratched, wash the wound well with soap and water and go to a
doctor right away.
After your trip, be sure
to tell your doctor or state health department if you were bitten or
scratched during travel.
For more information
about rabies and travel, see the Rabies chapter of the Yellow Book
or CDC's Rabies homepage. For more information about how to protect
yourself from other risks related to animals, see Animal-Associated
Be Careful about Food
Diseases from food and
water are the leading cause of illness in travelers. Follow these
tips for safe eating and drinking:
Wash your hands often
with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are
not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60%
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, learn how to make water safer to drink.
Do not eat food
purchased from street vendors.
Make sure food is fully
Avoid dairy products,
unless you know they have been pasteurized.
Diseases from food and
water often cause vomiting and diarrhea. Make sure to bring diarrhea
medicine with you so that you can treat mild cases yourself.
Car crashes are a
leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from these
drinking and driving.
Wearing your seat belt and using car seats or booster seats in the
backseat for children.
Following local traffic laws.
Wearing helmets when you ride bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes.
getting on an overloaded bus or mini-bus.
Hiring a local driver, when possible.
Avoiding night driving.
Illness and Sunburn
If you visit the
Himalayan Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to
adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches,
nausea, and altitude illness. If you experience these symptoms
descend to a lower altitude and seek medical attention. Untreated
altitude illness can be fatal.
Use sunblock rated at least 15 SPF, especially at high altitudes,
where the risk of sunburn is greater.
Other Health Tips
To avoid animal bites
and serious diseases (including rabies and plague) do not handle or
pet animals, especially dogs and cats, If you are bitten or
scratched, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek
medical attention to determine if mediation or anti-rabies vaccine
To avoid infections such
as HIV and viral hepatitis do not share needles for tattoos, body
piercing, or injections.
To reduce the risk of
HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases always use latex
To prevent fungal and
parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go
barefoot, especially on beaches where animals may have defecated.
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