Travel Tips and Vaccines
Please note: Hamilton County Public Health does not administer travel vaccines. Please review the list below for locations where travel vaccines are available.
Whether traveling overseas for business or pleasure, resources are available offering up-to-date travel information that can help make your travel experience enjoyable, safe and disease free.
Before you travel overseas
Get Necessary Vaccinations
Be sure your immunizations are up-to-date before you travel overseas. Adults should have record of a polio vaccination and recent tetanus/diphtheria booster (not more than 5 years old). Hepatitis A is transmitted by contaminated food/water. A vaccine is available and recommended for travel to countries with poor sanitation. View a list of area facilities that offer travel vaccination services.
Nothing can spoil a trip more than illness or injury. Educate yourself about where you are going, and remember there’s no substitute for common sense. For a smart, safe, healthy trip, add the following to your “packing list.”
- Medical information:
Health Insurance Card
Check with your health insurance company to see what coverage is provided while you're traveling outside the USA. Supplemental insurance may be necessary, especially if you have an underlying medical condition. A list of travel insurance and medical evacuation companies is available from the U.S. Department of State.
- Vaccination Records:
International Certificates of Vaccination for yellow fever and/or meningitis vaccinations may be required
- List of Health Information:
List each traveler’s blood type, drug allergies, previous and current illnesses, operations and medications. All other special information that may be useful to doctors should be written down.
- First-Aid Travel Kit
Buying medication overseas can be difficult and expensive, so consider packing the following:
• motion sickness medication
• diarrhea treatment
• constipation remedy
• antihistamine tablets
• hydrocortisone cream
• thermometer, scissors, tweezers
• sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses
• insect repellent
• adhesive bandages and antiseptic ointment
Remember all medications you and your family may need. To avoid problems during customs inspections, leave prescription medicines in their original containers and ask your doctor for a copy of each prescription you are taking.
While you travel overseas
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, we often forget that our bodies may have to adjust to a new time schedule, new foods and a new environment. The following tips address some of the aliments that can slow us down while traveling:
- Jet Lag - Stimulate blood circulation with light exercise; stretch your arms and legs on the plane. If your flight has a layover, get up and walk around. Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol on long trips. When you arrive at your destination, don’t go to sleep if it’s daylight there. Stay out in the sunshine and walk around and eat a big meal when you arrive at your destination.
- Dehydration - Drink plenty of water when flying or in hot weather. It’s a good idea to carry bottled water with you on your trip. Don’t allow children to use hot tubs, saunas or whirlpools. These also dehydrate the body and may be particularly harmful to children. Never drink alcohol while in the sun.
- Diarrhea - Loperamide, available over the counter, is fast-acting and safe, but is not for children under 6 years of age. Some antidiarrheals come in special formulations safe for children under 2 years of age. Ask your pediatrician or pharmacist for suggestions.
- Constipation - Dehydration, jet lag, and low-fiber airline food are common causes. Take natural bran or bran tablets, exercise, and drink plenty of fluids to remedy.
- Bug Bites - Use insect repellent. Be sure to read directions before using on children. Keep windows shut during the night and arms and feet covered while outdoors. Use calamine lotion or antihistamine cream to relieve bites.
- Blisters - Wear comfortable shoes. Treat blisters with antiseptic. Cover with adhesive bandages.
Medical Care Abroad
If medical care is needed abroad, travel agents or the American Embassy or Consulate can usually provide names of hospitals, physicians or emergency medical service agencies. Prior to departure travelers should contact their own insurance companies concerning coverage. Supplemental insurance may be neccessary, especially if you have an underlying medical condition. A list of travel insurance and medical evacuation companies is available at the U.S. Department of State.
Travelers should rent only vehicles fully equipped with safety devices such as seat belts and air bags. Inspect vehicles to assure that tires and brakes are in good condition and lights are in working order. Check in advance if child safety seats are available. Avoid night travel. When possible use taxis or other forms of public transportation.