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Bon Voyage!

If you're heading abroad this summer -- and, despite the lousy economy and crummy exchange rates, it seems as though many of us are -- you'll need to make sure your passport's in order, you've converted some cash to the currency of your destination, and laid in some extra memory cards for your camera. Unless you think about health every day, as I do, though, you may not have taken time to check out the health-related ramifications of your journey.

I'm only going across the Atlantic, but in anticipation of a family trip to Paris, I have thoroughly examined the advice and information offered at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site's travel section. You could devote an afternoon to tooling around the site: It contains the annual Yellow Book for Travelers, which provides basic healthy-travel tips plus updated details about disease outbreaks and other current health concerns around the world. You can hone in on your specific destination to find out what's going on there (and what vaccinations and other special precautions may be warranted); there's even a long list of items you should include in your travel health kit, if you're so inclined.

And don't imagine the advice is only for those bound for exotic climes: Whether you're jetting to China for the Olympics or just heading like me to Europe, you should make sure your measles vaccine (MMWR) is up to date, as measles outbreaks are ongoing in those areas. Several recent outbreaks of the disease, which had been nearly obliterated by our strong routine vaccination program, have occurred here when people have contracted it overseas and carried it home, where it has spread, primarily among unvaccinated children.

Another top-notch source of health info for travelers is MDtravelhealth.com, a comprehensive site run by an actual medical doctor. It includes tons of information about what to do and who to contact should you fall ill while traveling. Plus, it claims to be updated daily.

Do you know of any other useful sources? And do you consult them when planning your trips?

Travel safely!

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  July 7, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Travel Health  
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Comments

The measles vaccine is MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). CDC's weekly newsletter is the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report).

Posted by: Harrisburg, PA | July 7, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I am traveling to the Dominican Republic at the end of the month. I just looked at the info on MDtravelhealth.

Boy, am I depressed.

Posted by: depressed | July 7, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

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