Travel Hazards

Respiratory Illnesses

One of the most common problems encountered by travelers is respiratory illnesses, including influenza (the flu). Washing hands frequently and using alcohol-based hand rub are helpful to prevent transmitting infections. Carrying cold medications such as Tylenol, decongestants, and cough medication in your travel health kit can be helpful. Appropriate vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal disease also are important for many travelers. Because influenza is one of the most commonly acquired infections during travel, we strongly encourage all travelers to consider receiving the annual flu vaccine when available. Seasonal influenza occurs in the southern hemisphere from April to October; it occurs year-round in the tropics.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a worldwide problem. It is of concern primarily for those who have prolonged stays in countries where TB is a major public health problem and for those who will be performing relief work, providing medical care or spending most of their time interacting with the local populations. These travelers should consider being tested prior to departure and more importantly, on return to see if there has been exposure. Ask a TravelWell Staff member if you would like more information.