Missionaries and International Travel
Missionaries have greater health risks than ordinary tourists. They typically travel to more remote locations, stay for longer periods of time, have closer contacts with local populations and stay in simpler accommodations. Early preparation for the trip increases your chances for staying healthy.
- Exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet before your trip to improve your immune system.
- See your physician and dentist for regular check-ups and to discuss any health concerns.
- Schedule an appointment with a Travel Clinics of America physician as soon as your mission destination is finalized. The travel physician will update your routine immunizations (shots) and administer travel vaccinations. Recommended travel vaccinations will depend on your age, health status, destination, itinerary and length of stay. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines (available individually or together as Twinrix), typhoid, rabies and Japanese Encephalitis are some of the vaccines that may be recommended, depending on your destination.
- If you are traveling to a malaria-endemic area, you will need prophylactic medication.
- Avoid mosquito and other insect bites by using DEET (30%-50%) repellants and wearing permethrin treated clothing. Sleep under a permethrin treated tent or netting where needed. Stay indoors between dusk and dawn.
- Local food and drinking water may cause Traveler’s Diarrhea. Exercise caution and follow the traveler’s proverb, “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it”.
- Bring a First Aid Kit stocked with adequate supplies.
- Bring sufficient supplies of prescribed medications and pack in carry-on luggage. Arrange for additional supplies from home if needed. Bring copies of your prescriptions. Although many pharmaceuticals are available overseas, quality may not meet U.S. standards.
- Check with your mission office to ensure that you have adequate medical and evacuation insurance.
- Join IAMAT (for free!) so that you will have access to qualified English speaking physicians abroad.