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Health Self-Assessment for International Travel

To prepare for international travel, carefully consider your existing health conditions in consultation with your medical providers.

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Pre-existing health conditions may be exacerbated by changes in elevation, diet, social life, jet lag, time changes, air quality, climate, living arrangements, etc. To help you consider your medical history and create a plan to address your needs while abroad, Global Cornell has created a Health Self-Assessment for International Travel.

Below, you will see a number of health-related questions, which you should answer honestly. You may want to take notes as you go through the list. Later, you can use your self-assessment to facilitate a discussion with your physician. In addition, you may want to discuss your health with your traveling companions or with those familiar with your upcoming travel so they can help you more readily if you should need assistance while abroad.


Do you have any disabilities for which you will need accommodations abroad?

If yes, consider the information found on Cornell's Student Disability Services site and the Department of State's Travelers with Disabilities page or contact intlsafety@cornell.edu to discuss options.


Do you have any serious food, drug, animal, or other allergies? If yes, are your symptoms life-threatening?

If you answered yes to either question, consult with your physician to determine what precautionary steps you should take to address your condition. Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace with details of your conditions. Contact intlsafety@cornell.edu if you’d like to discuss the implications of living with this condition in your host country.


Are you on a medically restricted diet?

If yes, it is advisable that you speak to your physician, your program leader/advisor, and any in-country hosts arranging meals. You may also contact intlsafety@cornell.edu to discuss options.


Do you plan to take prescription medications while abroad? If yes, note that not all medications prescribed in the United States are legal or available in other countries. Alternate medications may need to be considered by you and your physician. The Cornell Health Travel Clinic is a great resource to discuss your options and expectations.


Have you been treated in the last five years, or are you currently being treated for any of the following conditions?

  • General: Alcohol/Substance Abuse, Eating Disorder, Immunodeficiency, Severe Migraine, Seizure Disorder

  • Respiratory: Asthma, Tuberculosis
  • Gastrointestinal: Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis
  • Infectious diseases: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis
  • Endocrine: Diabetes
  • Mental health: Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Other chronic physical or mental health condition(s)

If you answered yes to any of these, please consult your physician to discuss your condition and consider a continuation of care plan.


If you are traveling to a non-English-speaking country, and you have a medical condition, do you know how to describe your condition in the local language?

If not, consider taking with you a written description of your condition in the local language to present, if needed while abroad. If you need assistance in finding a translator prior to departure, contact intlsafety@cornell.edu. Also, note that when calling International SOS (ISOS) for a medical referral you can request an English-speaking physician if available.


Are any immunizations required or recommended by the CDC Traveler’s Health Website for travel to your destination country?

If yes, consult with your physician or make an appointment at the Cornell Health Travel Clinic.


Additional Issues to Discuss with your Physician(s)

  • The advisability of traveling outside of the United States given your overall health and/or medical condition(s).
  • The specific destination(s) and activities you have planned throughout your travel.
  • The effects on you while you are abroad of jet lag; time changes; and potentially dramatic changes in elevation, diet, social life, air quality, climate, living arrangements, etc.
  • Arrangements you should discuss with in-country hosts, program leaders, fellow travelers, advisors, and International Travel Health and Safety (ITHS) prior to departure.