No one wants to think about getting sick or hurt during a trip, but sometimes these things happen. You may not be able to prevent every illness or injury, but you can plan ahead to be able to deal with them.
If you will be traveling soon, be sure to visit CDC’s Travelers’ Health site, or check out the links below.
Safe Drinking Water
Eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water can increase the risk of developing certain infectious diseases caused by germs such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, and norovirus, among others.
For information on safe drinking water, visit:
- Water Treatment Options when Hiking, Camping or Traveling
- A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment and Sanitation for Backcountry and Travel Use (CDC)
- A Guide to Water Filters (CDC)
- Water Disinfection for Travelers (CDC)
- Water Treatment Methods (CDC)
- Making Water Safe in an Emergency (CDC)
- Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel (CDC)
For more information on bottled water, visit:
- Bottled Water (CDC)
For more information on safe food and drinks when traveling, visit:
Safe Recreational Water
Swimming in contaminated water can increase the risk of developing certain infectious diseases. When you are swimming in untreated or poorly treated water, you risk coming in contact with germs that may make you sick.
For information on safe recreational water, visit:
In addition to using safe drinking and recreational water, it is important to also protect yourself and others from waterborne illness by paying attention to good sanitation practices:
- Disposing of human waste appropriately. When possible, use permanent sanitation facilities (toilets and latrines). If these facilities are not available, dispose of human waste by burying it at least 8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from natural waters.
- Practicing good personal hygiene. If possible, wash hands with soap and clean, running water before handling food or eating, and after using the toilet.
For information on Sanitation when traveling or while in the backcountry, visit:
- Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives (CDC)
- The Leave No Trace Seven Principles (Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics)
- Backcountry Operations (National Park Service Public Health Program)
CDC’s Disease Directory will provide information for travelers about specific diseases that can affect them while traveling. Note: For travel recommendations for specific regions, visit Destinations.
For specific information on certain diseases, visit:
- Travelers’ Health: Disease Directory (CDC)
- Cryptosporidium Information for Travelers (CDC)
- Travelers’ Health: Cryptosporidiosis (CDC)
- Travelers’ Diarrhea (CDC)
- Cholera Information for Travelers (CDC)
Illness and Injury
While traveling abroad, it is important to know what steps should be taken in the event of illness and/or injury. For more information, visit CDC’s Getting Health Care Abroad page. For specific information on drowning, visit CDC’s Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts page.