Philadelphia City Branding Image

Travel Health

Text Size:

Traveling out of the country?

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health wants to make sure you know that international travel can pose health risks (e.g., injury and foodborne, waterborne, respiratory tract, bloodborne, and sexually transmitted infections). Learn more about countries with specific health risks associated with them.

You may need to get additional vaccines before traveling at least 4-6 weeks before you travel. Learn more about travel vaccines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Learn more about specific travel-related diseases (like malaria and yellow fever).

Before You Go!

Get prepared before you go!

  • Schedule a travel appointment with your health care provider 4-6 weeks before you travel. Even if you are leaving sooner than that, a visit to a health care provider can be helpful.
  • You may need to go to a separate travel clinic to get certain vaccines and medicine:
  • Think about how you will get care when overseas. Consider whether you need travel health or evacuation insurance.
  • Sign up for the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program allows US citizens and nationals to share their trip details with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • Make sure you have all the medicines you need (pack extra, in case of delays).
  • Carry a card that identifies your blood type, any chronic illnesses or allergies, and medicines you take. Download our Health Information Card.


Some groups that may have additional considerations include:

  • Families with children
  • Pregnant/breastfeeding travelers
  • Long-term travelers or expatriates
  • Senior citizens
  • Travelers with disabilities
  • Travelers with weakened immune systems or chronic disease conditions
  • Travelers with pets


Travelers who are visiting friends and relatives are also at higher risk for malaria, typhoid fever and other diseases because they often stay longer, travel to more remote locations, and have more contact with local water sources. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides targeted resources for different types of travelers.

While You're There

Food, water, the weather, and climate changes can also cause illness. Unclean food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases. Watch what you eat and drink.

Infographic: What’s Safer and What’s Not

After Returning

If you are not feeling well, you should see a health care provider and mention that you have recently traveled. People who have traveled to developing countries most often experience fever, diarrhea, skin conditions, and respiratory complaints. Your health care provider may refer you to an infectious disease doctor or travel medicine doctor.

If you visited a malaria-risk area, keep taking your antimalarial medication for as long as directed, even after leaving the malaria-affected country. If you develop a fever, visit a health care provider.