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Problems After Travel


Christopher Sanford

, MD, MPH, DTM&H, University of Washington;

Alexa Lindley

, MD, MPH, University of Washington School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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Symptoms or problems that develop during travel and that do not subside by the time a person returns home warrant medical attention.

The most common medical problem after travel is

The most commonly acquired potentially serious diseases are

Some travel-related problems can begin after travel. For example, decompression illness Decompression Sickness Decompression sickness is a disorder in which nitrogen dissolved in the blood and tissues by high pressure forms bubbles as pressure decreases. Symptoms can include fatigue and pain in muscles... read more (the bends) can occur after a scuba diver surfaces. Scuba divers should not fly for 24 hours after diving, as this increases risk. Some symptoms may develop weeks or months after a person has returned. Fever after international travel is especially common. For example, malaria often causes fever days after exposure. Although the connection between travel and new symptoms often is not apparent, information about recent travel can be the key element in making a diagnosis. Therefore, people should tell their doctor about any recent travel when they experience any medical problem.

Both the International Society of Travel Medicine ( and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene ( have lists of travel clinics on their web sites. Many of these clinics specialize in assisting travelers who are ill after they return home.

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