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Office of International Education and Development
 

   
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Phone  850.599.3295
Fax  850.561.2520

Office of International Education and Development
305 North Perry-Paige
Tallahassee, Florida 32307
 
 

Health Guidelines

 Pre-Departure Preparation
 
1. Research the recommended vaccines for your host country by visiting the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/

2. Schedule a medical visit (either local clinic, family physician, or student health)
          * get a physical exam to assure good health prior to traveling
          * consult your doctor regarding the recommended travel vaccines
 
Maintaining Health Abroad
 
1. Jet Lag: Minimize jet-lag by leaving home well rested; try to be packed and ready to go a day or two early so that you can rest and visit with friends and family. During the flight, drink plenty of liquids (no alcohol), eat lightly, and rest some more. Upon arrival, stay awake till a locally normal bedtime; instead of napping, take a walk and get some fresh air.

2. Nutrition: Eat nutritiously while abroad to keep up your energy, and help boost your immune system. If you have any dietary restrictions, learn how to describe them in the local language.
3. WATER: In many developing nations, or areas with poor sanitation, only the following beverages may be safe to drink: boiled water, hot beverages (such as coffee or tea) made with boiled water, canned or bottled carbonated beverages. Ice may be made from unsafe water and should be avoided. In areas where water is contaminated, travelers should not brush their teeth with tap water, but rather use bottled or boiled water.

4. Food: In rural areas and developing nations, use caution when selecting food. Foods of particular concern include salads, uncooked vegetables and fruit, un-pasteurized milk and milk products, raw meat, and shellfish. If you peel fruit yourself, it is generally safe. Food that has been cooked and is still hot is generally safe.

5. Traveller's Diarreha: Typical symptoms of travelers' diarrhea (TD) include: diarrhea, nausea, bloating, urgency, and malaise. TD usually lasts from 3 to 7 days, and is most commonly caused by contaminated food or water. Risk of TD varies by type of eating establishment - from low risk in private homes to high risk from street vendors. Sufferers of diarrhea should drink plenty of fluids, and avoid dairy products, alcohol, and caffeine.

6. Insects: If you will be traveling to tropical climates, you will most likely encounter a variety of insects. Insects, such as the mosquito, can transmit diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever, and many others. Some precautions that you can take to avoid the insects are:
          * Limit outdoor activity from dusk till dawn.
          * Invest in a good insect repellent and use it.
          * Wear protective clothing with long sleeves and pants.
          * Sleep in well-screened areas.

7. Safe Sex: You are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases abroad, just like you are at home! In some nations, occurrence rates for HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases are higher than in the United States!
          * ALWAYS use a latex condom EVERY time you have sex!
             [It is best to avoid intimate sexual activity abroad, OIED]

8. HIV and Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a potentially fatal disease of the liver and is spread in the same way as HIV, through bodily fluids such as blood or semen.
          * ALWAYS use a latex condom EVERY time you have sex!
          * Never use needles or syringes used by other people
          * Never use another person's razor or toothbrush
          * Don't get tattoos or have any part of your body pierced!

9. Rabies: In many nations abroad, dogs and cats do not receive the same veterinary care and vaccinations that they do in the United States. Leave stray dogs and cats alone, as not all rabid animals behave ferociously.
 
For more detailed information consult the Health Information for International Travel: The Yellow Book published by the Center for Disease Control. An online version is available here.
 
Quoted from Study Abroad Office, University of North Carolina (2009). Maintaining Health Abroad. (compiled by Lisa Parker from Food and Water Precautions and Travelers' Diarrhea Prevention, Center for Disease Control - Traveler's Health http://www.cdc.gov/travel/, November 2002). Retrieved July 4, 2009 from http://studyabroad.unc.edu/health_abroad.cfm.