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Vacations and Traveling Abroad

university health services

Traveling or studying abroad can be a fun and exciting experience. It can be quickly ruined by an illness that could have been prevented with immunizations prior to leaving the United States. Additionally, many countries have required immunizations for foreigners entering their countries.

University Health Services is dedicated to keeping you healthy. Several months before you travel, schedule an appointment with us or your primary care provider to make sure you meet all of the vaccination requirements for your travel destination. This additional time is required to allow any needed vaccines to take effect prior to travel.

There are two great resources to check before you leave:

Boston College Health Services
Cushing Hall Room 117
They can provide you with information and many of the immunizations you may need.

The Center for Disease Control's Travel Page
This page provides a wealth of health related information on many countries.

Available Immunizations at Health Services:

  • MMR
  • Td and Tdap
  • PPD
  • Polio
  • Immune Globulin
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid Injection and Tablets
  • Flu Vaccine
  • Malaria prevention 
  • Meningitis Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever


Skin Health

Sitting by the pool or on the beach can feel great. The sun feels good as it hits yor skin and you can get an impressive tan. It is important, however, to consider the long term risk of sun exposure.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays appears to be the most important environmental factor involved with developing skin cancer. During the summer months, UV radiation tends to be greater.

To help prevent skin cancer while still having fun outdoors, regularly use sun protective practices that are recommended by the CDC:

  • Get into the shade- UV rays are strongest and do the most damage aroung 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m
  • Cover your skin- with clothing to protect you from those harmful rays.
  • Get a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Grab shades that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Rub on sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Be aware- if you are taking medications. Sun exposure can have very harmful effects if you are taking certain antibiotics or other medications. Read labels very carefully and ask your provider about your medications prior to leaving for your trip.

Hydration and Alcohol

Keeping hydrated when in the sun is important. As your body heats up it requires more water to run efficiently. Drinking non-alcoholic, non-caffinated beverages will help prevent dehydration. Caffiene and alcohol only contribute to dehydration so stick with water whenever possible.    

Check out the CDC's website for hot weather care and preventing heat related illness- click here