International Education Office
Faculty & Staff
Health & Safety
Incoming Exchange Students
Health Information for International Travelers
Some countries require that you show proof of receiving certain immunizations. If you are going to such a country, an official record of your immunizations must be carried with you and presented with your passport and visa as you enter the country. For all travel, review the status of your tetanus, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B inoculations. Check health and disease status information at the Center for Disease Control website.
CDC Recommendations - All Travelers | CDC Recommendations - Travelers to Rural Areas | Chronic Medical Conditions | Dealing with Jet Lag | First-aid Kit | Immunizations | Prescriptions | Protection from Insects and Parasites | Insurance | Traveler's Diarrhea | Water Purification
- Wash your hands often, using soap and water
- Walk defensively
- Avoid travel at night
- Always use latex condoms
- Do not eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized
- Do not share needles for anything with anyone
- Never eat undercooked ground beef, poultry, or eggs
CDC Recommendations - Travelers to Rural Areas
- Drink only bottled water, boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles
- Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes
- Protect yourself from insects
- Do not go barefoot
- Do not eat food purchased from street vendors
- Do not handle animals
Chronic Medical Conditions
- Wear a medical tag explaining your illness or allergies. Medic Alert Foundation International is a worldwide organization that supplies tags containing an identification number, the medical information, and a telephone number to call in case of emergencies. Once you join, you are a lifetime member. Learn more here.
- Carry a card in your wallet identifying your illness and have someone translate the information into each foreign language you will encounter abroad.
- Learn helpful phrases in foreign languages ("I am a diabetic", "I need a doctor", etc.).
- Drink lots of fluids: water, juice, soft drinks (without caffeine)
- Avoid alcohol
- Eat lightly
- Get up and walk around at least once an hour
- Get plenty of sleep before departure
- Anticipate a day of adjustment for each time zone you cross
- Try the Ehret method by altering your eating habits:
- Three days prior: Feast day, with three full meals; make breakfast and lunch high in protein, dinner high in carbohydrates
- Two days prior: Fast day, with low calories and low carbohydrates (soups and salads), with caffeine only in the afternoon
- One day prior: Feast day (see above)
- Day of departure: Fast day, with lots of liquids
- On arrival: If you arrive in the morning, eat a high-protein meal; if you arrive in the evening, eat a high-carbohydrate meal
First-Aid Kit Especially if you're traveling extensively or going to remote areas, consider taking along the following: insect repellent; water disinfectant; thermometer; bandages; moleskin for blisters; Pepto-Bismol or Imodium for diarrhea; antacid; aspirin; cold and cough medication; mild laxative; sunscreen; sunburn medication; anti-fungal / anti-itch medication; anti-bacterial cream; tweezers; bee sting kit (if you're allergic).
ImmunizationsBefore you travel, contact your doctor, clinic, or state health department regarding immunizations at least 6-8 weeks prior to departure.
- Take enough refills to last for the entire time abroad
- Keep all prescription medication in the original containers
- Take an original written prescription, preferably written for a generic version of your medication
- If you wear glasses or contacts, take along a spare pair and take your lens prescription with you
- If you take a narcotic, take more than two medications, or take a medication by injection — bring a letter from your physician that describes your medical condition and the need to carry the medications and/or syringes with you. Having a copy of the letter translated into your host country language might be beneficial.
Protection from Insects and Parasites This section applies only to travelers going to countries in the non-industrialized world or to remote areas.
- Mosquitoes: The best protection against malaria is to not get bitten. Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, on cloudy days, and in shaded areas. Wear a hat, long-sleeved tops and long pants. Use plenty of mosquito repellent containing at least 30% DEET. Sleep under mosquito-netting sprayed with a Permethrin-based repellant if your lodging has unscreened windows or doors.
- Other insects: Always wear boots or shoes to protect against hookworm, fungus, jigger fleas and other infections. Shake out your shoes before putting them on to get rid of insects that may have climbed in. Check yourself and your clothing for ticks during and after outdoor activity.
- Parasites: Avoid swimming or wading in freshwater lakes and streams which may be infested with a parasite that cause schistosomiasis, a disease that can damage your internal organs. Schistosomiasis is most prevalent in Brazil, Egypt and most of sub-Saharan Africa; Southern China; the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Insurance All students participating in a UMD program are required to have CISI international travel, health and security coverage. The policy provides both medical evacuation and repatriation coverage as well as catastrophic medical coverage. You will be given information about this insurance at your pre-departure orientation session.
- The biggest problem with diarrhea is dehydration
- Drink lots of fluids: water, fruit juices, or soft drinks without caffeine
- Eat salted crackers or other starchy foods (rice, bread) and bananas
- Avoid dairy products
- See a physician if symptoms do not improve within a week and are accompanied by a fever
Safety will vary from country to country. In developing nations, the precautions listed below should be followed.
- Heat treatment: boil vigorously for 10 minutes
- Chemical treatment with chlorine: use 4-6% concentrate, adding two drops per quart or liter of clear water, double dosage for cloudy water, let stand 30 minutes
- Chemical treatment with tincture of iodine: two drops per quart or liter of clear water, double dosage for cloudy water, let stand 30 minutes
- Chemical treatment with Halazone: five tablets per quart or liter of clear water, let stand 30 minutes