International health concerns: Why I choose not to leak from both ends

illustration by Liz Szabo, USA Today

I have been taking more of an effort to learn about different health concerns around the world. Staying healthy is obviously a big concerns for those who are traveling away from home, especially internationally. Airports, taxi cabs, communal bathrooms all increase the chances for getting sick. I recently read a great blog that had a lot of wonderful travel information. Check it out here. Different countries have higher statistics of travelers who become sick after being exposed to new germs that the traveler would not normally come in contact with.

But I refuse to fall to these statistics!

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a listing of travel guidelines for travelers to read to ensure their health while away from home. They give information on being “Proactive, Prepared, and Protected!” Along with the CDC information, I have compiled a list of helpful tips to use when traveling, both close to home and miles away.

photo via

1. Know the health concerns of where you are going: Be sure to learn about vaccines that are needed if you are going to another country or even another continent. (Dont forget about the flu shot) Growing up and living primarily in one area can make a traveler more susceptible to health concerns that are not native where you live. Also be sure to learn about the water quality of the area that you are traveling to also. If necessary, have water purification tablets or a water filter. (nothing is worse that being caught with your pants down, literally!)

2. Be sure to have a list of all health issues: I have learned when traveling, both alone and with friends that it is important to make sure that if something were to happen, emergency personnel knew my allergies, emergency contacts and important health information about me. Be sure to have a list of medication allergies as well as a list of current medications that you may be taking for quick reference in the event of an emergency.

3. Have bug spray: Creepy Crawlies are all over the world. Being from the western part of the world, I know that there are many critters that I have yet to discover. Critters that can cause rashes, welts, fevers, and… *ahem* leakage that I am not interested in having. Be sure to have antiseptic spray or antihistamine spray in the event that you are allergic to a new bug bite.

4. Wash hands: This is a bit of a given, but should be taken more seriously with being in a new area. It is one thing to not wash your hands after petting your family pet, and quite another after grabbing the handrail of a street car in another country. Be mindful of not touching your face or eyes until hands are clean.

5. Be careful of new foods: I love food. Period. And it takes a lot to separate me from it. But I am always careful when I travel to other countries where food borne illnesses can be a concern. I enjoy going to street markets and farmers markets but am always careful of what I eat and how it is prepared. Be sure to know what is in food that is prepared and always be aware of consuming raw foods in a new country as well.

This is a good list to reference to when traveling internationally and wanting to be aware of potential health concerns and the possibility of bodily leakage (which im sure I speak for everyone when I say no one wants to experience this)

Do any of you have suggestions for other travel health concerns? I’d love to hear them!

5 thoughts on “International health concerns: Why I choose not to leak from both ends

  1. Always a good idea to wash your hands. I usually find out if public washrooms have toilet paper and soap. And water sometimes!

    BTW, I read you like to prepare dinner but not wash up. I like cleaning up after. I’m O-C that way……

  2. Vaccines and hand wash is so important, but when travelling I have NEVER been ill from trying new foods, or even eating street food (Egypt, Burkina Foso you name it). The last time I was sick travelling it was in a was in a 4 star hotell, all inclusive…

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