Foreign Travel Crossing The Border

Traveling outside of the United States requires that additional attention be paid to health.

Two important foreign travel issues are vaccinations and knowing what to eat and drink.


  • Travel between countries may expose visitors to unfamiliar viruses, therefore being immunized is vital.
  • Your local health department receives bulletins about world health conditions and can advise you on what shots are needed.
  • Allow at least six weeks to get your vaccines as some require multiple inoculations.
  • Some countries require an International Certificate of Vaccination upon entry. Local health departments can furnish them.

The chart below highlights what vaccines are required in different parts of the world:


  • Tropical Regions (7)

  • Southeast Asia (4)(7)(8)

  • Asia (7)

  • South & Central America (7)

  • Africa (7)

  • Vaccinations

    1. Hepatitis

    2. Hepatitis B

    3. Malaria

    4. Cholera

    5. Plague

    6. Typhoid

    7. Yellow Fever

    8. Meningitis

    9. Encephlatis

    What to Eat and Drink

    Foreign travel can play havoc with travelers when it comes to eating local foods and drinking the water. When there is some question about a particular country, check with your travel agent before you leave or contact a local tourist office. Two rules of thumb are to avoid foods that can’t be cooked, boiled or peeled, and to only drink bottled or boiled water.

    Water transmitted microorganisms can cause diarrhea, so do not drink local water that is questionable. Carbonated bottled water is the safest.

    When brushing your teeth or showering, avoid swallowing the water. If necessary, brush your teeth with bottled water instead.

    Coffee, tea or other beverages that require boiled water are generally considered safe.

    If Montezuma’s Revenge, the Delhi Belly, the Tokyo Trots or the standard “turista” diarrhea strikes you, it may be necessary to contact a local physician. If you begin treatment right away, the diarrhea usually ends in a couple of days.

    For lists of English speaking doctors abroad, contact:

    International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers

    417 Center Street

    Lewiston, New York 14092

    (716) 754-4883

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    Written by American Institute for Preventive Medicine

    Explore Wellness in 2021