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Vaccinations and Health Preparation

Staying up-to-date and getting vaccinations recommended for the country to which you are traveling is a great way to stay healthy while abroad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains an up-to-date list of vaccines and medicines list specific to your destination. 

Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers’ Health Destinations website. Under the "For Travelers" section, select your destination(s) and check the box that indicates you are a study abroad participant. Thoroughly read the information for each destination you intend to visit and follow the CDC's recommendations to prepare for your trip. There is a lot of great information covering not only vaccinations and medicines, but also water and food safety, healthy packing lists, how to reduce your exposure to germs, prevent bug bites, and much more!

UAB Travelers Health Clinic

The UAB Travelers Health Clinic is the largest of its kind in Alabama and houses the Department of Travel Medicine, which focuses on the needs of travelers, particularly those who travel outside the country. The highly experienced and specialized physicians can provide you with the best preventive measures when traveling abroad, including all immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. 

Contact the UAB Travelers Health Clinic to request an appointment for a travel consultation to receive vaccines, medications, and educational materials on staying healthy abroad.

U.S. Department of State Health Information

Visit the U.S. Department of State's Your Health Abroad website for additional tips on staying healthy abroad, including how to find a doctor or hospital abroad, information about traveling with prescription medications, as well as other health considerations abroad.

Prescription Medications Abroad

If you currently take prescription medication it is important to plan ahead for your time abroad. If possible, it's recommended to take a full supply of your prescription medication for the duration of your program. To obtain a supply of medication for the duration of your study abroad program, talk with your physician. Be sure your physician provides you with a copy of the prescription and/or a physician's statement. You may need to present that paperwork when you enter the host country to document your need to carry the medication. You may also want to have your doctor prescribe substitute or alternate prescriptions in case your exact medication is not available overseas. You should also write down the generic name of your medication(s), as medical practitioners in other countries may not be familiar with brand names used in the U.S. Be sure to leave your medications in their original containers and label them clearly.
Once you have met with your physician and obtained a prescription that will last you for the duration of your stay abroad, contact both your pharmacy and medical insurance provider and alert them to your travel plans. Your pharmacy may need to verify the prescription with your physician, and in some cases special order your medication(s) so that sufficient amounts will be in stock just before you leave. When calling your medical insurance provider, ask for a “vacation override.” Once this override is put in place, you should be able to buy your prescription(s) at your normal monthly copay rate. Otherwise, you may need to pay the out-of-pocket cost, which can be substantial. Be sure to make these arrangements at least two weeks before your departure as your medical insurance company's process can be complicated and lengthy.
Some countries restrict certain medications entirely or limit the amount you can bring with you in-country. Be sure to confirm that your medication is allowed in your destination country, and if so, how much you can carry with you upon arrival. Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting to make sure your medications are permitted in that country.