Stay Healthy and Safe on Spring Break
Bitten by the travel bug for spring break this year? Follow these tips to reduce your risk of illness or injury abroad.
As winter’s hold weakens, hopeful spring breakers will make their way to balmy beach resorts, rugged rain forests, and coastal cruise ship destinations. Wherever your spring break plans take you, CDC wants you to be informed and make smart choices. If international travel is part of your spring break plan, the CDC Travelers’ Health website is a great first stop to make sure that you are Proactive, Prepared, and Protected when it comes to your health while traveling.
Many popular spring break destinations throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Pacific Islands, and Mexico have outbreaks of Zika virus. CDC has issued Zika travel notices with recommendations for travelers to these destinations.
Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to any destination with Zika protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Sexual transmission of Zika is also possible, so travelers are encouraged to use condoms.
Because Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman is linked to serious birth defects, CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to an area with Zika. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
Learn more about Zika and Pregnancy.
Before You Go
- Find out about vaccines and any health concerns at your destination. Visit your local health department or a travel medicine specialist at least 4 to 6 weeks before you leave the United States.
- Make extra copies of your passport and other travel documents that you can leave with a family member or friend.
- Check with your health insurance provider to find out about medical coverage outside the United States. Consider additional insurance that covers medical care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will participate in extreme sports or travel to remote areas.
- Check the US Department of State website for information on security risks. Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the US embassy or consulate can contact you in an emergency.
- Pack smart and prepare a travel health kit with the items you may need on your trip including medicines, sunscreen, and bug bite protection.
During Your Trip
- Be careful about indulging in the local cuisine. In developing countries, eat only food that has been fully cooked and served hot. Do not eat fresh vegetables and fruits unless you can peel them yourself. Drink only bottled, sealed beverages, and steer clear of ice—it was probably made with tap water. Get food and water advice in CDC’s Can I Eat This? app to avoid spending your vacation in the bathroom!
Don’t leave your healthy habits at home while on spring break! Play it safe when it comes to your health.
- Don’t leave your healthy habits at home – “what happens on spring break stays on spring break” may imply that taking risks is expected, but you should always play it safe when it comes to your health!
- Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex; see Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
- Avoid getting tattoos or piercings to prevent infections such as HIV and hepatitis B.
- Drink responsibly and be sure to have a designated driver.
- Adventure travel is most fun when risks are managed. Whether you are reef-diving, surfing, or zip-lining, depend on reliable and properly trained outfitters for success.
- Don’t be another statistic: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among healthy travelers. Remember the basics of safe driving: wear seatbelts, maintain the speed limit, and avoid distractions like talking on the phone or texting.
After You Return
If you are not feeling well, see a doctor and mention that you have recently traveled. It is important to “think travel” whenever you don’t feel right after returning from a trip.
To learn more about the recommendations for your specific travel destination visit: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.
- Page last reviewed: March 8, 2016
- Page last updated: March 8, 2016
- Content source:
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs