Travelers from the USA may encounter various diseases while visiting foreign countries. A few simple measures will help to protect you.
Food and drink
Most illnesses are spread to travelers by contaminated food and drink.
Residents of developing countries are often infected with microorganisms that are passed on to tourists unintentionally. You must be on guard to protect your own health.
- AVOID unboiled or untreated water.
- AVOID ice in beverages.
- DRINK canned or carbonated bottle water, soft drinks, beer and wine.
- DRINK tea or coffee made from boiled water.
- DRINK directly from the bottle, after wiping the container's lip.
- USE carbonated water to brush your teeth.
- AVOID raw or partially cooked fish and shellfish, including ceviche.
- AVOID uncooked vegetables.
- EAT only foods that are cooked and still hot.
- EAT only fruit that you peel yourself.
- AVOID food and beverages from street vendors.
- AVOID bringing perishable goods, including shellfish and other seafood, on your return to the USA.
REMEMBER - Cook it, Peel it, Boil it or Leave it!
Insects are capable of transmitting diseases through their bites. Mosquitoes that carry malaria bite mostly between sunset and sunrise. Travelers can protect themselves by following simple rules:
- WEAR thick, long-sleeved clothing and long trousers when out-of-doors after sunset.
- AVOID dark colors, which attract mosquito.
- APPLY insect repellent, such as dimethyl phthalate or N,N-diethyl-3-toluamide (DEET), on exposed skin, observing manufacturer's precautions.
- USE mosquito nets around beds at night, taking care to tuck each net carefully under the mattress.
- USE a pyrethrum-containing flying insect spray in living and sleeping areas after sunset.
- SPRAY permethrin (Permanone) on clothing.
REMEMBER - Take anti-malaria medications as prescribed.
Swimming in contaminated water may result in skin, eye, ear and certain intestinal infections.
- SWIM only in water that is chlorinated.
- AVOID beaches that might be contaminated with human sewage or with dog feces.
- AVOID wading or swimming in fresh water streams, canals and lakes which may be contaminated with human waste.
- WEAR shoes as a protection against biting and stinging fish, coral dermatitis and poisonous sea life.
Rabies and snake bite
Animals tend to avoid human beings, but they may attack, particularly if they are with young.
- AVOID petting domestic animals.
- AVOID wild animals.
- SEEK medical advice if bitten by an animal. Cleanse the wound as soon as possible with soap and water.
- CHECK shoes and clothing before use to avoid being bitten by a snake.
- WEAR closed shoes or boots in snake-infested areas, particularly at night.
Sexually transmitted diseases
The risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases, as well as AIDS, can be significantly reduced.
- AVOID casual sexual contact, contact with multiple partners or with prostitutes.
- AVOID sexual practices that involve the exchange of semen and vaginal secretions.
- USE condoms.
- AVOID intravenous drug use or any type of needle-sharing.
And don't forget!
- TAKE an extra pair of reading glasses.
- TAKE sufficient prescribed medication to last the duration of your trip.
- CARRY your medication with you to avoid difficulties if luggage is lost or delayed.
- TAKE sufficient sterile needles and syringes for the duration of the trip and a doctor's authorization for their use if you require injectable medication.
- AVOID buying "over the counter" medication in a foreign country unless you are familiar with the product.