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Healthy You

Staying Healthy While Traveling

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 7:43 AM

With spring and summer vacations approaching, aside from planning the fun activities, it’s important to also plan for staying illness-free.

The NorthShore Travel Center is an authorized Yellow Fever vaccination center which provides travelers immunizations, education, counseling and up-to-date information regarding overseas travel destinations. If you plan on traveling overseas, Brigham Temple, MD, Emergency Medicine at NorthShore, suggests that you’re up-to-date with the health tips below.



International travelers should allow plenty of time to receive any immunizations required by the country you are traveling to. Proper travel immunizations may require up to 8 weeks in advance to start working and time between shots if more than one dose is required.

Travel Health Insurance

Many U.S. health insurance companies may not cover accidents or illnesses that occur while traveling overseas, nor will they cover emergency medical evacuations to get proper treatment. If this is the case, purchase travel medical insurance that covers medical evacuation.

Items to Pack

The following lists the essential health items and supplies to pack:


Prescription Medicines:

  • Adequate supply of prescription drugs in well-marked containers
  • Antibiotics for treating travelers' diarrhea
  • Epinephrine auto-injector for those with moderate-severe allergies
  • Drugs for altitude sickness

Familiarize yourself with local medical laws that could differ from the U.S., as some prescriptions may be illegal in your destination. If so, get a letter from your doctor to carry prescription narcotics or controlled drugs.

Over-the-counter Medicines:

  • Anti-diarrheal medication (e.g., loperamide)
  • Medicine for pain (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen)
  • Antacids
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Nasal decongestant spray
  • Antifungal and antibacterial ointments
  • Anti-motion sickness drugs

First Aid Kit

  • Thermometer
  • Bandages
  • Gauze, dressing and tape
  • Antiseptic
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers

Other items that may be useful depending on your destination and activities:

Personal Care Items

  • Water filtration/purification supplies and 1-liter plastic water bottle for storing water
  • Appropriate clothing for anticipated weather conditions
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses
  • Hat & sun glasses
  • Sunscreens: SPF 30 or higher
  • Insect repellent
  • Mosquito bed net


  • Copy of pertinent personal health records
  • Telephone number and email address of your personal physician
  • For travelers doing adventures such as hiking or camping might need duct tape to repair a jacket, backpack or tent

To make an appointment for immunizations at the NorthShore Travel Center, please call 847.657.5670. The Travel Center can accommodate families at one visit, and can provide care for children as young as 6 months old.

When was the last time that you traveled? What item did you forget to pack?