Health information for

Health Information for International Travelers
Must-read health web site for everyone traveling abroad: U. S. Centers for Disease Control
The CDC recommends that all travelers review the status of the following inoculations:

General information from ISU:
• At least 4-6 weeks prior to departure
, contact your doctor, clinic, state health department, or
the Travel Clinic at ISU’s Thielen Student Health Center regarding immunizations and
• Take enough refills to last the entire trip.
• Keep all prescription medication in the original containers.
• Take an original written prescription, preferably written for a generic version of your
• If you wear glasses or contacts, take along a spare pair and take your lens prescription with
• If you take a narcotic, take more than two medications, or take a medication by injection,
take a letter from your physician that describes your medical condition and the need to carry the
medications and/or syringes with you. Having a copy of the letter translated into your host
country language might be beneficial, too. In fact, you shoulto
make sure that your medication is acceptable to carry into the country. Some countries may
consider your prescription medication to be illegal.
Chronic medical conditions:
• Wear a medical tag explaining your illness or allergies. Medic Alert Foundation International
is a worldwide organization that supplies tags containing an identification number, the medical
information, and a toll-free telephone number to call in case of emergencies. Once you join, you
are a lifetime member. Check at your local drugstore, or contact Medic Alert, P.O. Box 1009,
Turlock CA 95380.
Carry a card in your wallet identifying your illness (Medic Alert can supply this, also) and
have someone translate the information into each foreign language you will encounter on your
• Learn helpful phrases in foreign languages ("I am a diabetic", "I need a doctor", etc.).
First-aid kit:
• Especially if you’re traveling extensively or going to remote areas, consider taking along the
following: insect repellent, water disinfectant, thermometer, Band-Aids, moleskin for blisters,
Pepto-Bismol or Imodium for diarrhea, antacid, aspirin or substitute, cold and cough medication,
mild laxative, sunscreen, sunburn medication, anti-fungal/anti-itch medication, anti-bacterial
cream or spray, tweezers, and bee sting kit (if you're allergic).
Traveler’s Diarrhea:
• The biggest problem with diarrhea is dehydration.
• Drink lots of fluids: water or Gatorade, later add fruit juices or soft drinks without caffeine.
• Eat salted crackers or other starchy foods (rice, bread); bananas are good, too.
• Avoid dairy products.
• If no improvement in a week and accompanied by fever, see a physician.
• Take an Imodium-type product.
Dealing with jet lag:
• Drink lots of fluids: water, juice, soft drinks (without caffeine).
• Avoid alcohol.
• Eat lightly.
• Get up and walk around at least once an hour.
• Try to get plenty of sleep before departure.
• Anticipate a day of adjustment for each time zone you cross.
• Try the Ehret method of dealing with jet lag: Three days in advance of your trip, start shifting
your activities as if you are already in the new time zone. Alter your eating habits as follows:
• Three days prior: Feast day, with three full meals; make breakfast and lunch high in • Two days prior: Fast day, with low calories and low carbohydrates (soups and salads), • One day prior: Feast day (see above). • Day of departure: Fast day, with lots of liquids. • On arrival: If you arrive in the morning, eat a high-protein meal; if you arrive in the
Additional Health Information from:
Staying Healthy
Checking out other countries doesn’t mean ignoring the health habits you practice at home. In
fact, you’ll need to pay even closer attention to what you are doing, eating, drinking or even just
walking down the street.
Eat, Drink and be Wary
Thinking about sampling the native cuisine? Of course you are! Enjoying local delicacies is part
of the wonderful experience of overseas travel, but eating the wrong things could make you very
sick. Many countries don’t have the same food handling and preparation standards found in the
United States. Food that is not stored or cooked properly could make you sick. Do your research
on which local foods and drinks to avoid.
 Choose your local restaurants carefully. If it looks dirty in the dining room, it could be  Local water supplies could also be a breeding ground for bacteria. Always use bottled water (even to brush your teeth), and beware of fake bottled water – tap water sold as bottled. Be aware that ice may also be made from local tap water.  Practicing healthy habits, like washing your hands regularly, will help ensure that you stay healthy and enjoy your entire trip. While you are keeping your eye on what you are drinking, make sure you keep an eye on who’s pouring it as well. Without sounding too scary, there’s the possibility of being served something you didn’t order. A number of illegal drugs can be slipped into your drink. These drugs can make you sleepy, unaware, or even unconscious. Remain aware of your drinks and:  Don't drink anything you did not open yourself or that you didn't see being opened or  Always watch your drink at parties and bars and get a new one if you leave it unattended Get more health information from these expert sources:  Travel Health Information from the Travel Health Information from the  Travel Health Information from the
Mental Health
Traveling or studying overseas is not a cure for health conditions such as depression or attention
deficit disorder. Sometimes going abroad may in fact amplify a condition. A student may not
have adequate access to their prescription medication or mental health facilities. In addition,
culture shock, language barriers, and homesickness can deepen isolation or depression.
Workable Plan
Before traveling, create a workable plan for managing your mental health while abroad. The
availability and quality of mental health services differ widely from country to country. In many
countries, students will find it difficult — and sometimes impossible — to find treatment for
mental health conditions. With your health services provider or your school, put together a
workable mental health plan before you go overseas:
 If you have a medical or psychological condition that may require treatment while you are abroad, discuss this ahead of time with your doctor. A vacation or study abroad is a great opportunity to try new things, but this is not the time to experiment with not taking your medicine or mixing alcohol with medicine.  Research the social culture of your destination to learn about how mental illnesses are viewed. Attitudes toward mental health can vary greatly between countries.  If you are studying abroad through your university, talk to your university about access to mental health services at overseas programs. Your study abroad office can help you decide what program would be best for you.  If currently receiving mental health services — including prescription medication — find out if those services and/or medication are available at your destination. Also, check out
our info about carrying prescriptions abroad.
 Consider the support system you’ll have in place while abroad. If possible, know ahead of time who you can consult with about your mental health.


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