Letter From Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Some illnesses occur upon your return and can prevent you from working and your children from going to school. Here are some ways you can protect your family’s health during your trip:
  • See your health care provider at least 4 to 6 weeks before travel. Ask about any medications or vaccinations you may need before you go. For example, if you are going to a country where malaria, typhoid fever, or hepatitis A is present, your provider can prescribe medication or give you a vaccine to reduce your risk of getting sick. Infants ages 6 to 11 months should receive an early, extra dose of measles-containing vaccine before international travel.
  • Make sure you and your children are up to date with your routine and COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended booster doses.
  • Protect yourself and your children against tick, mosquito, and other bug bites. Use recommended insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and hats.
  • Practice these food safety tips, depending on the country you visit:
    • Drink bottled water or disinfect water by boiling for at least one minute to get rid of germs.
    • Avoid eating raw fruits or vegetables that cannot be peeled.
    • Make sure your meat is fully cooked and served hot.
  • Be safe around animals. Do not pet or feed wild or domestic animals.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available.
  • Check the COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations of the places you plan to visit, which may include testing or vaccination requirements to enter and other precautions upon arrival. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask while on airplanes and other public transportation, and consider wearing a mask in other public places depending on the local level of risk. For country-level COVID alert levels, see here.
The Health Department works with the CDC and Massachusetts General Hospital to offer the Heading Home Healthy program. Visit www.headinghomehealthy.org for country-specific health care advice for safe travel. 
Celia Quinn, MD, MPH
Deputy Commissioner
Division of Disease Control