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Traveling Abroad: How to Stay Safe & Healthy


Perhaps you still have some vacation time remaining this summer. Or you’re already beginning to plan trips for the fall and winter. If that’s the case, check out the new edition of one of the most valuable travel resources available: “The Yellow Book,” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officially titled “CDC Health Information for International Travel,” the book – with a distinctive bright yellow cover – is published biennially. The 2012 edition is now available. You can see the contents online or buy a copy for $45 from Oxford University Press (or from major booksellers).

At a hefty 640 pages, the Yellow Book is designed with physicians and medical staff in mind. The preface spells out the thinking: “As international travel continues to become more common in the lives of U.S. residents, having at least a basic understanding of the medical problems that travelers face has become a necessary aspect of practicing medicine. The goal of this book is to be a comprehensive resource for clinicians to find the answers to their travel health-related questions.”

That said, travelers themselves can find a wealth of information here. Heading for the mountains? The entry on “Altitude Illness,” reviews risk factors, specific types of illnesses, diagnosis and treatment, medications, and rules to “prevent death or serious consequences.” Thinking about assembling your own travel health kit? Chapter Two (under “Counseling and Advice for Travelers”) talks about traveling with medications, general health kit supplies, basic first aid, contact cards and where to find commercial medical kits. Need travel insurance or evacuation insurance? You can find discussions about how to evaluate policies, where to find insurance providers, and special considerations for Medicare beneficiaries.

Other chapters cover a host of topics: infectious diseases related to travel; select destinations (the Caribbean, Egypt, China, India and Nepal, among others); transportation issues (including taking your pet with you on your travels); traveling with infants and children; and travelers with specific needs (including individuals with chronic illnesses). In short, an invaluable guide.


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About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.