Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

Five Warnings Travelers Who Go Abroad Might Get From Health Educators, and Why

Learn about maintaining your good health abroad and about the health educators who spread the word about world health.

Souvenirs from the trip of a lifetime are lovely reminders of time well spent. But nobody wants to bring back Zika, cholera, Murray Valley encephalitis, chikungunya, or Montezuma’s revenge. You might not have even heard of some of these maladies, but health educators—especially those who specialize in global health education programs—are trained to understand and disseminate information about them as they relate to travel.

Two organizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), provide information on health issues that can affect all of us, wherever we happen to reside or travel. The CDC focuses on issues of concern specific to the American public, whether we’re stateside or abroad, and the WHO takes a more global approach. Both organizations provide a wealth of material relevant to travelers.

Five Warnings Travelers Who Go Abroad Might Get From Health Educators, and Why

Once you’ve decided on your itinerary, plan to take precautions before, during, and after your trip. Here are five warnings health educators might offer to people traveling to far-flung destinations:

  1. Be aware of the CDC’s three levels of travel notices, and understand that you might need to adjust your travel plans.1 Conditions can change at any time—think hurricane season or severe winter weather. Big weather events can knock out power and communication, pose threats to health, and impede access to healthcare. The CDC’s travel notice system is designed to provide information to travelers about health issues in specific international destinations as a result of disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters.
    • Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
    • Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
    • Watch Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions
  2. Make smart food choices.2 This is especially important when traveling in developing countries. Sadly, a rare steak or any other type of undercooked meat is not on the menu. Instead, stick with fully cooked, hot food; pasteurized dairy products; dry foods like bread and crackers; and fruits and vegetables that you have peeled or washed yourself with bottled or purified water. Avoid raw or undercooked food, salads, and food that is served at room temperature.
  3. Make an appointment with your doctor, with plenty of time to spare before your anticipated departure date. At your visit, ask about recommended vaccinations for your intended destinations. Make sure that you’re up to date on any other standard vaccinations and are stocked up on current prescriptions. If you’re traveling with a child, ask your pediatrician about special precautions appropriate for the child’s age and medical history.
  4. If there are any concerns about the local water supply, don’t drink the water. Seriously. This is true for any location, not exclusively undeveloped regions. This includes drinking beverages served over ice, eating popsicles or flavored ice treats, swallowing water while showering, and brushing your teeth with tap water. Tip: Use bottled water or mouthwash to brush and rinse your teeth instead.
  5. Check in with your doctor upon your return if you or your travel companions were ill during your trip—even if all symptoms appear to have cleared up. Take your itinerary with you so your doctor knows exactly where you visited and when you were there. Certain illnesses can remain in your system and cause problems later on, possibly putting others in your work or social spheres at risk.

When you’re ready to pack your passport and embark on an adventure, remember to take charge of your health first.

If you’re interested in making an impact via careers in health education and promotion, Walden University offers an MS in Health Education and Promotion program. The increased interest in and focus on healthy behaviors and preventing illness is fueling the need for qualified health education specialists. Employment growth for health educators and workers is projected to be a healthy 16% through 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.3 Walden’s online program will help prepare you to advance in the field, working as a health educator in academic, clinical, community, or corporate settings.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering one of largest suites of public health programs available online today, including an MS in Health Education and Promotion. Choose from specializations that include Population Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Health Policy and Advocacy. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.