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Protect Yourself From Hepatitis A When Traveling

Topic Overview

Immunization against the hepatitis A virus (HAV) is recommended for anyone traveling to any country or area except:footnote 1

  • Australia.
  • Canada.
  • Japan.
  • New Zealand.
  • The United States.
  • Western Europe and the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, and Finland).

Talk to your doctor before visiting any other areas.

If you plan to travel to a part of the world where sanitation is poor or where hepatitis A is a known problem, see your doctor about receiving the hepatitis A vaccine or the combination hepatitis A and B vaccine. (Risk of hepatitis B increases if you go to a high-risk country frequently or stay for a long time.)

When traveling in an area where hepatitis A is a known problem or where water quality is questionable:

  • Boil water before you drink it. Bring the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute. If you are at an elevation of 6562 ft (2000 m) or higher, boil the water for 3 minutes. Do not drink tap water or well water or beverages containing ice cubes.
  • Do not brush your teeth with tap water or well water.
  • Make sure all foods are cooked well, especially shellfish.
  • Eat only raw fruits and vegetables that you have washed in uncontaminated water and peeled yourself.
  • Don't swim in water that has not been treated with chlorine.
  • Don't drink bath or shower water.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Sharapov UM, Teshale EH (2014). Infectious diseases related to travel: Hepatitis A. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/hepatitis-a. Accessed December 24, 2014.

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
W. Thomas London MD - Hepatology

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