While the potential for excitement and adventure lures Americans young and old to travel across the Earth, there are often medical hazards that travelers don't think about in advance. In many countries the water is unsafe to people whose immune systems are not used to certain bacteria, and medicines readily available in the U.S. may be hard or impossible to obtain.
The key to a safe trip is planning and common sense. Learn the water situation in all areas you are going to (in certain areas water may be safe to drink, but not so in other regions of the same country). Bring plenty of indigestion medicine and pain relievers and make sure all of your vaccinations are up to date. You may consider bringing clean syringes to self-medicate. To make your exotic travel experience a safe one, surf these sites before taking off.
Centers for Disease Control
Comprehensive advice from the government agency responsible for researching diseases domestically. Find information on what vaccinations you will need for your travel, what diseases are prevalent in certain countries, tips on how to eat and drink safely, an important traveler's checklist of preparations and information for special needs travelers. You'll also find news updates concerning the status of certain diseases in foreign countries. Make sure to read the special page on food and water precautions.
Dr. Wise's Travel Clinic
Dr. Mark Wise's professional site for "everything you need to know about travel and related health matters." The FAQ section is worthwhile, and the advice upon returning from travel is also beneficial.
Tips on understanding your medical coverage when traveling abroad, including health plan options when traveling.
Travel Health Online (free reg.)
From "Afghanistan to Zimbabwe" this site offers locations for international medical care and descriptions of various diseases.