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Traveling Abroad: Understanding Your Travel Health

With spring break just around the corner and summer break a couple of months away, no doubt, some of you have travel plans or are in the process of making them. Now is the time to think about what steps you may need to take for your health before you leave.

When traveling abroad, you can utilize the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a no-cost service that notifies and enrolls your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Enrolling in STEP allows U.S. citizens and nationals to “receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.” You can also consider purchasing travel insurance – whether it’s trip cancellation insurance, travel health insurance, or medical evacuation insurance.

Use the “Three P’s” when traveling – be Proactive, Prepared, and Protected with your health. Tips from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:

  • Be up-to-date on routine vaccinations.
  • Additional vaccines may be required depending on destinations.
  • Use sunscreen and insect repellent as directed.
  • Be careful about food and water.
  • Try not to take risks with your health and safety.
  • Limit alcohol intake, and do not drink alcohol and drive.
  • Wear a seatbelt.
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventure activities.
  • Respect your host country and its people by following local laws and customs.

Some destinations may not have pharmacies like we do in the US, and they may not have the brands and varieties of over-the-counter medications readily available here. Research the country you are visiting to know what you should and should not pack for the trip.

You may need certain vaccinations before you leave or medications while you are away. The Campus Health Center (CHC) is located on Wayne State’s campus and offers a variety of travel health services. This means you can fit in your appointment between classes. They offer pre-travel health consultations which include explaining travel health requirements, offering required vaccinations for the country you are visiting, and prescribing any medications necessary. They also provide post-travel follow up care if necessary.

You can visit the Campus Health Center information table at the Student Center first floor on Tuesdays from 11AM-1PM in March to get more information on travel health. Drop by the Wayne State Campus Health Center for all your health needs, or call them at 313-577-5041 to schedule an appointment or if you have more detailed questions.

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