Good Luck. Good Health. Good Cheer. Happy Lunar New Year!
[[image id=595 template=3]]The year of the Dragon begins January 23, 2012, and many travelers will visit Asia to celebrate the Lunar New Year. If you are traveling to Asia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would like to share information and tips that will help you stay healthy and safe during your trip.
Every destination, even in different areas of the same country, has unique health issues that travelers need to be aware of. To find specific information about the areas you plan to visit, see the East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia regional pages on the CDC Travelers’ Health website, or click on the country or countries you will be visiting on the destinations page.
Important Health Information
- Illnesses spread by mosquitoes, such as malaria, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis, are common throughout Asia, so it is very important to take steps to prevent mosquito and other insect bites. You may also need to take prescription medicine to protect against malaria or get a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis. Talk to your doctor about prevention steps that are right for you and your destination.
- Food and water. Eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water can cause illnesses such as hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and travelers’ diarrhea. Read about how to prevent these diseases by visiting the Safe Food and Water page on the Travelers’ Health website.
- Seasonal flu. Annual vaccination of all people 6 months of age and older is recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Travelers who want to reduce their risk of flu should receive the flu vaccine at least 2 weeks before departure. Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need to receive two doses of the vaccine to be fully protected. Learn more about the flu vaccine by reading Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine.
Before Your Trip
- Learn how to prepare for a healthy trip by visiting Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel.
- At least 4–6 weeks before your trip, make an appointment to see a doctor familiar with travel medicine. See the Travel Clinics webpage for help in finding a travel medicine clinic near you.
- At the appointment, make sure to get all the vaccinations and medicines you need for your trip and discuss any allergies, current medications, or other health concerns with the doctor.
- Be sure that you are up to date with all your routine vaccinations, including measles, tetanus, and the seasonal flu vaccines.
- Pack health items that you may need on your trip. See the Pack Smart webpage for a list of health items CDC recommends.
- Make a plan for what to do if you get sick during your trip, including where to go for medical care if you need it. Learn more by visiting Illness and Injury Abroad and Medical Information for Americans Abroad from the U.S. Department of State.
Stay Healthy During Your Trip
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner with at least 60% alcohol. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you do get sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading germs to them. Go to the doctor if you have a fever with a cough or sore throat, are having difficulty breathing, or feel very sick. Tell the doctor if you think you have been around a sick person or an animal that looked sick.
- Avoid going to bird farms or live bird markets, and avoid touching birds, especially dead or sick chickens, ducks, or other birds. Avoid surfaces that have bird droppings, blood, or other body fluids on them. If you cannot avoid these items, wash your hands, or anything else that came into contact with these items, with soap and water.
- Eat foods that are freshly cooked and served hot, since they are safer than foods that may have been sitting out for some time. Avoid foods that are raw or undercooked, especially bird meat and products (such as eggs and poultry blood); egg yolks should not be runny or liquid. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables, unless you can peel them yourself. Visit the Safe Food and Water page for more information.
- Use insect repellent to prevent bites from insects and mosquitoes that can transmit malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and other infections. If you are visiting an area with malaria and your doctor prescribed medicine, remember to take it exactly as prescribed.
- Use sunscreen (at least SPF 15). Be sure to apply sunscreen first, before applying insect repellent.
- Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury-related deaths worldwide, so it is important to protect yourself. Remember basic safety tips: don’t drink and drive, and always wear a seatbelt when traveling in a vehicle and a helmet when you ride bicycles and motorcycles.
After Your Trip
Pay very close attention to how you feel after you get home. Go to the doctor right away if you—
- have a fever with a cough or sore throat, or have trouble breathing.
- have a fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, or flu-like illness and you visited an area with malaria.
- have a fever and a rash.
- If you go to the doctor, tell your doctor about your recent international travel.
- Malaria can develop up to a year after travel, so stay alert for fever or other signs of illness. Make sure you continue to take your malaria pills until your prescription is finished.