- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Boost Digestive Health
- Digestive System Problem Foods
- Find a local Family Physician in your town
- Why should travelers see a physician before they leave on a trip?
- What diseases occur in travelers, and how can disease be prevented?
- Traveler's diarrhea
- Meningitis and encephalitis
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A
- Typhoid fever
- What about diseases for which there is no vaccine or preventive medication?
- What is safe to eat and drink while traveling?
- What can I do to avoid insect bites?
- What should be in my travel first-aid kit or medicine kit?
- What are the medical concerns with jet lag?
- What if I have a medical condition or a chronic disease?
- What if I'm traveling while pregnant?
- What about traveling with children?
- Travel health insurance & medical evacuation insurance
- Travel safety and health alerts
- Where can I find additional information?
Quick GuideTravel Health: Vaccines & Preventing Diseases Abroad
What should be in my travel first-aid kit or medicine kit?
- Your kit should be packed in your carry-on luggage.
- Prescription medications that you take at home
- Medications that your doctor recommended to prevent travel-related illness, including malaria medications, if indicated
- Over-the-counter medicines to treat minor illnesses (heartburn, headache, head cold, mild diarrhea, motion sickness, travel sickness)
- Sunscreen, lotion to use to treat sunburn
- Insect repellents
- Alcohol based sanitizer with over 60% ethanol content
- Bandages, tape, thermometer, and tweezers
- Other items according to your itinerary. Adventure travelers who are far from medical help will need to consider additional items such as water purification tablets, commercial suture/syringe kits to be used by local health-care provider (ask your doctor for a letter on letterhead stationary prescribing its use), and other necessities.
- Condoms, especially if there is a chance you may have sex with new partners
- Women who get vaginal yeast infections should consider carrying along a treatment course (pills or vaginal products)
What are the medical concerns with jet lag?
To reduce the duration and the symptoms of jet lag, try to be outside when the sun is up. It may make for a very long (or short) first day, but it will help you adjust more quickly. Some travelers also try to change their sleep-wake habits before they leave.
Medicines are available that can promote sleep, but there are few studies on how well they work with jet lag. Zolpidem (Ambien) is a prescription sedative that promotes sleep. Another group of prescription drugs known as benzodiazepines also promotes sleep, but they may have more side effects, including temporary amnesia. Melatonin is a natural hormone available as an herbal preparation in the United States. Doses of approximately 5 mg have been shown to induce sleep. Melatonin is available over the counter.