Travel Advice

Health Tips and Information


Travel health tips to keep you safe during your holiday or business trip.

Unclean food and water can cause travelers' diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.

Eat

•    Food that is cooked and served hot
•    Hard-cooked eggs
•    Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself
•    Pasteurized dairy products

Don't Eat

•    Food served at room temperature
•    Food from street vendors
•    Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs
•    Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish
•    Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
•    Unpasteurized dairy products
•    ”Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)

Drink

•    Bottled water that is sealed
•    Water that has been disinfected
•    Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
•    Carbonated drinks
•    Hot coffee or tea
•    Pasteurized milk

Don’t Drink

•    Tap or well water
•    Ice made with tap or well water
•    Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
•    Unpasteurized milk
Take Medicine
Talk with your doctor about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs with you on your trip in case you get sick.


Safe vs. Risky Food

The following foods are usually safe to eat:

  • Foods served hot: High heat kills most of the germs that cause travelers’ diarrhea. If cooked food is served steaming hot, it is usually safe to eat. Be careful of food that is cooked and allowed to sit at room temperatures or in a warmer, such as on a buffet. It could become contaminated while sitting out.
  • Dry or packaged foods: Most germs require moisture to grow, so foods that are dry, such as potato chips, are usually safe. Additionally, food in factory-sealed containers, such as canned tuna or packaged crackers, are safe as long as it was not opened and handled by another person.

The following foods can be risky to eat:

  • Raw foods: Avoid eating raw foods. Fruits or vegetables may be safer to eat if you can peel them yourself or wash them in bottled or disinfected water.
    • Stay away from platters of cut-up fruit or vegetables. They may have been contaminated during preparation.  
    • Be careful with fresh salads. They are more likely to cause sickness because some germs on salad greens can’t be washed off. Also, shredded or finely cut vegetables have a lot of surface area for germs to grow.
    • Avoid fresh salsas and other sauces or condiments made from raw fruits or vegetables.
    • Be careful with raw meat or seafood, including raw meat that is “cooked” with citrus juice, vinegar, or other acidic liquid (such as ceviche, a dish of raw seafood marinated in citrus juice). They may contain germs.
  • Street food: Street vendors may not follow the same food preparation standards or follow the same safety practices that restaurants do, such as handwashing and using thermometers. Eat food from street vendors with caution. If you choose to eat street food, follow the same food safety rules as you would with other foods. For example, if you watch something come straight off the grill, cooked and steaming hot, it’s more likely to be safe.
  • Bushmeat: Bushmeat refers to local wild game, generally animals not typically eaten in the United States, such as bats, monkeys, or rodents. Bushmeat can be a source of animal-to-human spread of diseases, such as Ebola. Travelers should avoid eating bushmeat.

Diseases spread through food or water

These diseases result from ingestion of water or a wide variety of foods contaminated with disease-causing germs or their toxins. Often these infections are also spread by the faecal-oral route.

Examples of food or waterborne diseases:

botulism
Campylobacter infection
cholera
Cryptosporidium infection
haemolytic uraemic syndrome
Listeria infection
Salmonella infection
Shigella infection
typhoid and paratyphoid
Yersinia infection.


Adapted from cdc.gov