Precautions to take when traveling abroad

Unclean food and vaccinations are things to consider

(CNN) – With the recent Ebola epidemic in parts of Africa, federal authorities are asking international travelers to be particularly aware of certain conditions in countries where they may be visiting or working and to make sure they’re prepared for possible health issues when they get there.

What do you need to know to keep healthy once you go abroad?

Ebola, malaria, polio, chikingunya; all of these illnesses are now affecting countries overseas. The Centers for Disease Control warns if you’re planning to travel abroad the best thing to do is to check with their website on health conditions of areas you will be visiting.

To stay healthy, the CDC cautions that anytime you’re traveling you should make sure your vaccination papers are in order and updated.

Also, watch what you eat. That tomato may look tempting, but unclean food and tap water can cause major problems such as diarrhea and dehydration. Stick to bottled drinks, and avoid ice. And eat only items that are cooked thoroughly.

Protect against pests; mosquito-borne illnesses are common. Carry a strong mosquito repellent such as one containing DEET and use it frequently.

Be aware of your surroundings. Are there poisonous creatures in the area?  Animals are cute, but if you are bitten or scratched they could carry diseases, such as rabies.  Avoid unknown swimming holes, they could carry deadly parasites.

And if you take medications, bring extras. Counterfeit drugs are common overseas and if you run out of pills it’s tough to predict what kind of meds you will get if you try to replace them in another country.

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