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After Your Trip: If You Feel Unwell

While most after-travel illnesses are mild, some symptoms may warrant a trip to the doctor.


If you have been in a country with malaria and develop a fever within a month after you leave, see a doctor immediately. Most fevers are caused by less serious illnesses. But because malaria is a medical emergency, your doctor must rule it out first. Always tell your doctor about any travel you have done, even if it was months ago.

Persistent Diarrhea

Most cases of diarrhea go away in a few days, but see your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts for two weeks or longer. Persistent diarrhea can make you lose nutrients and is often caused by a parasitic infection that will need to be treated with special drugs.

Skin Problems

Skin problems (rashes, boils, fungal infections, bug bites) are among the most common illnesses reported by people who have returned from international travel. Most skin problems are not serious, but they may be a sign of a serious illness, especially if you also have a fever.

At the Doctor

Whatever the reason, if you visit the doctor after returning from a trip overseas, tell him or her about your recent travel. Make sure to include all relevant details:

  • What you did on your trip.
  • How long you were gone.
  • Where you stayed (hotel, tent, etc.).
  • What you ate and drank while you were there.
  • Whether you were bitten by bugs.
  • Whether you swam in fresh water.
  • Any other possible exposures (sex, tattoos, piercings, drug use).


Zika testing is only recommended in cases where you have symptoms and have either traveled or had sex with someone who traveled to an area with Zika. Visit the IDOH Zika webpage for the most current information on guidance and testing.