After Travel Tips

doctor and patient
After travel, sometimes people come home with more than souvenirs. Fortunately, most after-travel illnesses are mild, such as a head cold or an upset stomach. However, other travel-related illnesses may be more serious, and symptoms may not show up until long after you get home.


Need to See a Doctor?

Seek medical attention if you are not feeling well after your trip, whether you have diarrhea, skin problems, trouble breathing, or other issues.

Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. This information will help your doctor consider infections that are rare or not found in the United States. Some details to include:

  • Your vaccination history
  • What you did on your trip (activities, excursions, missionary work, medical work)
  • How long you were gone
  • Where you stayed (hotel, private home, tent)
  • What you ate and drank
  • Whether you were bitten by bugs or bitten, scratched, or licked by animals
  • Whether you swam in fresh water
  • Whether you received health care abroad
  • Any other possible exposures to infections like sexual encounters, tattoos, piercings, or injuries that broke the skin

You may wish to talk to an infectious disease doctor or travel medicine specialist. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, find a clinic here.

What Else Should I Know?


Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite.  Malaria is serious and may be deadly. After you have left an area with malaria, it is very important that you continue taking your antimalarial drugs as prescribed:

  • Weekly for 4 weeks if you are taking doxycycline, chloroquine, or mefloquine
  • Daily for 7 days if you are taking atovaquone/proguanil or primaquine
  • One weekly dose if you are taking tafenoquine

Malaria symptoms usually develop within 30 days, but they could appear up to a year after exposure. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or up to 1 year after you return home, you should seek immediate medical attention and tell the clinician your travel history. Because malaria can be a medical emergency, your doctor must rule out malaria if you have been in an area with malaria risk within the past year. A fever could be from malaria even if you took antimalarial medicine, because the medicine, while very effective, is not 100% effective.

Take-Home Message

After travel, if you are not feeling well, seek medical attention, and tell them where you traveled.