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How to Protect Yourself against Infectious Diseases When Traveling Abroad

Traveling out of your home country to a new location can be quite challenging. In addition to sorting your immigration with the help of your US attorney for immigration, there are a lot of personal considerations as well. One such thing is prioritizing your health and safety. Making sure your health is stable throughout your trip is one of the best ways to maximize your experiences.

Traveling to a new location potentially exposes you to germs and diseases your body is not familiar with. This, along with the rigors of your journey makes you more likely to get sick if care is not taken.

To avoid this, here are the best ways to protect yourself against infectious diseases when traveling out of the country.


While you are doing all the necessary shopping for that trip, don’t forget to take some time out to go to a travel clinic for necessary vaccinations. Do this about 4-6 weeks before your trip.

Depending on where you are going, you might need vaccines against polio, influenza, measles, diphtheria, or covid-19. If you are going outside North America, you’ll need vaccines against illnesses such as hepatitis and typhoid fever that are not commonly found in North America. It is very important to be vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.

Prevent Insect Bites

Bugs and insects can infect you with a variety of diseases. Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas can spread malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, and Lyme disease. If you are going to regions where insects and mosquitoes are common, you should take proactive steps to keep them from biting you so you don’t get infected.

You may consider wearing insect repellents like lemon eucalyptus and picaridin along with sunscreen, sleeping under a mosquito net, and wearing trousers and long-sleeved clothes, particularly at dusk.

You should also consider your accommodation where you’re going and put measures in place to protect yourself there. Sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms and consider taking medication if you feel unwell.

Be Careful With Food and Water

No doubt you have to watch what you eat and drink whenever you travel to avoid being infected with the diseases that come with contaminated food. This is especially important when traveling to underdeveloped and developing countries. Some examples of infectious food and water diseases include diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, and Hepatitis A.

Try to stay away from cold street food that does not look properly sanitized. Eat foods that have only been cooked, and served hot. Avoid peeled fruits and vegetables not washed with clean water. You should also avoid unpasteurized dairy foods such as milk or cheese.

Stay away from contaminated water by only drinking canned beverages, soft drinks, carbonated mineral water, or unopened bottled water. Avoid ice as well because it might have been made with contaminated water. Avoid brushing your teeth or washing your face with tap water.

You may also consider taking water purification systems with you such as chemical kits or water filters. If this is not possible, you can boil water before drinking. It is also recommended not to swim in freshwater rivers, streams, ponds, or lakes that contain all sorts of sewage or animal feces in them because these can lead to a range of infections. If you must swim, use a chlorinated pool.

Wash Your Hands

We hear this often from healthcare experts and professionals but many people hardly put this into practice. Handwashing is particularly important if you’re traveling to a new location. Periodic handwashing is a great way to remove germs and prevent illnesses. Wash your hands with soap and water, or always have a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol when you are traveling. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and keep your distance from those who cough or sneeze excessively.

Be Careful With Animals

Even the most harmless and the friendliest animals might not have been vaccinated, and this could put you at risk of developing an infection if you ever get bitten. Try not to pet or feed or cuddle animals unless you know for sure that they have been vaccinated against rabies and other diseases.

It is best to have gotten a tetanus treatment before traveling. If you are bitten, scratched, or licked by an infectious animal, use first aid, or antiseptic, and wash the wound with soap and water. Most importantly seek medical advice on treatments regarding bacterial infections, tetanus, and rabies.

Take Precautions against Airborne Diseases

Some diseases can spread through contact or air droplets, or through someone who is coughing or sneezing.  Some of these diseases include; covid-19, influenza, measles, monkeypox, chicken pox, bronchitis, SARS, and MERS.

To prevent such diseases, wash your hands regularly, stay up to date with vaccinations and avoid contact with people who are sick. It is better to be vaccinated before you leave your home country if possible.

These days some countries even require proof of vaccination for any of the above before you’re allowed to enter. This is a good thing since it helps forestall illnesses due to exposure to these airborne diseases.

Don’t Have Sex Indiscriminately

Infectious Diseases transmitted through sex are a dime a dozen. Revelations about this are pretty common but yet most people still fall victim. Apart from HIV, gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, and Hepatitis B, waterborne diseases like shigellosis and Hepatitis A can also be spread through sexual contact.

STDs do not have vaccines and are largely asymptomatic. This means your preventative care is in your hands. Abstinence or the usage of condoms is the best way to prevent STDs. If an unfortunate incident like a sexual assault happens, then seek medical help immediately.


When planning an international trip, there are so many things to worry about. Your health should be one of your top priorities. Pay attention to the tips covered in this post to prevent getting into a terrible situation.

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