Health and medicine

Immunizations/Guarding Against Diseases

Be sure you know which immunizations are required and recommended for your destination(s). If specific immunizations are required, the country will ask for proof of the immunization before you are allowed in. 

Use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler's Health website to look up important health information for your destination. Research the health and disease risks at your destination so you can take the appropriate precautions. Your research should also include prevalent sexually transmitted infections and diseases to ensure you plan to manage your sexual health while abroad.

Prescription medications:

Bring your prescription medicines with you, as well as a written prescription in case you need a refill.  The UHCG policy has no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, so you can use it to refill medical prescriptions as needed. If your medications need to be refrigerated, remember to plan for that.

Be aware of prohibited medicines. Medications that are commonly available over the counter in the U.S. may be illegal in other countries.  Use the Medical Intelligence Reports section of the United Healthcare Global Intelligence Center website, or call United Healthcare Global to see if your prescriptions will be permitted in your destination. 

Never travel internationally with any amount of medical marijuana. Marijuana is illegal in many countries. Students with a U.S. prescription for marijuana can be arrested, prosecuted, and deported if in possession of any illegal substance while abroad. Airports and airplanes are federal jurisdictions. You can be detained and arrested when going through security. Federal authorities do not recognize the medical marijuana laws or cards of any state.

From the News:
Egypt: British woman arrested for carrying painkillers; could face 25 years or the death penalty.

Mental health:

You should also prepare to manage your mental health.  Traveling internationally can cause additional stress that may be difficult to manage without your usual support system.  You should feel empowered to ask for help if you are feeling depressed, experiencing anxiety, insecurity, or negative feelings.  You can plan in advance by speaking with a counselor before you travel who you can contact while you are abroad, or you can reach out to UHCG to make an appointment with a mental health provider while you are traveling.

Physical health:

If you currently being treated, or have been treated for a serious physical health condition, injury, or disease (such as severe asthma, epilepsy, anemia, diabetes, etc.) you should talk to your treating physician about how to manage your condition while abroad.


Talk to your doctor about how to manage your allergies while abroad.  Some medications are illegal overseas. If you have any life-threatening food allergies (such as peanut allergy, shellfish allergy, etc.), allergies to medications (such as penicillin), or other types of life-threatening allergies (such as insect stings, pet dandruff, latex, etc.), talk to your treating physician before you travel. Determine if you need to bring medication for acute allergy symptoms with you, and ensure it is legal where you are going. It is also helpful to have a translation of your allergy information in the local language so you can alert local hosts, doctors, or restaurants.

Dietary restrictions:

If you have a health condition that restricts your diet, such as gluten intolerance, research the availability of the types of foods you can eat safely, and plan to bring some emergency supplies with you. 

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