Immunization is one of the best forms of protection for all travelers. In addition to travel-related vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises you to make sure you are up-to-date with all routine vaccinations before you travel. Many vaccine-preventable diseases rarely seen in the United States are still prevalent in other parts of the world.
Health risks for travelers are higher in developing countries and rural areas because of differences in sanitary conditions, available food and water sources, and immunization coverage. Your risk of becoming ill while traveling depends in part on where you are traveling to, the length of stay, activities conducted while traveling, your overall health, and your vaccination history.
- Many local health departments and private provider offices offer travel vaccinations.
- Make an appointment with your health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip.
- Your health-care provider can tell you which vaccines and medications may be needed as well as specific precautions to take based on your health history and travel plans.
- Visit the CDC’s Travelers’ Health website. This website will give you the most up-to-date information about recommendations and requirements for your destination, as well as current disease outbreaks.
- Eat foods that are fully cooked and served hot or raw fruits and vegetables that you can wash and peel yourself.
- Drink beverages that have been bottled and sealed (water, carbonated drinks, or sports drinks).
- Do not put ice in drinks.
- Use bottled water to brush your teeth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
- Use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
- Do not touch animals, and do not let your children touch animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and birds.
- See a doctor right away in these situations:
- You get an animal bite or scratch.
- You get sick with a fever or flu-like illness during your trip or soon after your trip (or up to 1 year after a trip to a malaria-risk area).
Vaccines You May Need
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
- Japanese Encephalitis
*You should contact your healthcare provider to determine which vaccines are recommended for you.
Yellow Fever Vaccine Program
Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for people aged ≥9 months who are traveling to or living in areas at risk for yellow fever virus transmission in South America and Africa. Yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain countries. Yellow fever vaccination requirements and recommendations for specific countries are available on the CDC Travelers’ Health page.
Yellow fever vaccine is available only at designated vaccination centers.