So you're taking an international trip. You've bough the appliance converters, had your passport picture taken, and have your passport in hand, have your reservations, have travel tips and guides―pretty much everything is in gear for you to go. But there is one thing you may not have considered.
Each year thousands of people travel abroad and many will come back either having experienced illness or find out that they are ill when they get back to the US. It is important to talk with your doctor at least two months before you go overseas. Some countries require vaccines or prevention drugs and medications that we don't normally give here. For example, traveling to Honduras, you need to start taking malaria drugs three-six weeks before you leave. Yellow fever vaccines may be indicated when traveling to South Africa or America.
Certainly the possibility exists for you to become ill when you travel. Therefore, it's a good idea to take your own little medicine cabinet. For example, drugs to control diarrhea or vomiting, aspirin, antihistamine, and anti-bacterial ointment. Taking a list of your medications is important, as well. Some countries/cruise ships require that you bring the bottles your medication is in, rather than putting them in a travel pillbox. A current prescription to verify that you do, indeed, take the medication you have with you is important as well.
The Center for Disease Control recommends not only before you travel, but also in general, to make sure you are current on your vaccination schedule. Too often, adults think that they're 'finished' with vaccines because they had all of them when they were younger. That is not the case. Adults need to get boosters or another series of vaccines to make sure they are protected against disease.
There are obvious things you can do to stay healthy when you travel. Drink bottled water, soft drinks, and juices. Stay away from raw fish and meat. Make sure the food you consume is cooked properly and served to you at the right temperature. If something looks or smells the least bit questionable, don't eat it. Pay attention to your surroundings. Use insect repellant if you're going to be doing a lot of outside walking or touring. Wear sunscreen. Exposure to the sun can really be deceiving in tropical locations.
There is an old song called 'Leaving on a Jet Plane'. The lyrics go something like, 'all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go'. With planning by going to your doctor, getting the necessary vaccines, obtaining copies of your prescriptions, and packing the important things―your camera, your clothes, etc., no doubt, you will have an excellent and healthy adventure. Oh...and don't forget your passport and extra money. Bon voyage!