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Sure London is a pretty safe city as major cities go…there are no unusual vaccinations required or weird health ailments to read up on.  And you can drink the water!  So what is there to think about?!?! Here are a few tips to ensure that your travel experience to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games in London this summer will be healthy, safe, and memorable.

  • Check on the status of your measles vaccination (and make sure you are up to date on all of your routine vaccines).  Measles has returned with a vengeance, as many people don’t wish to vaccinate their children.  This puts the entire population at risk. In 2011, some U.S. residents who traveled abroad got measles. When they returned to the U.S. they caused 17 measles outbreaks in various communities in the US. To read more about measles in Europe see, the measles outbreak notice.
  • Buy medical travel insurance that includes medical evacuation.  Sure the likelihood of anything happening is slim, however, for a small amount of money you are protected in case something does happen (like you look the wrong way on the street and step out into traffic…read the next bullet!)

Look Right

  • Look right, look left, and look right again to avoid stepping into the path of traffic. I have been to London many times and the first few days I almost get myself killed on the streets!  Thankfully most intersections have very handy arrows reminding you wish way you are supposed to be looking for oncoming cars!   In England, people drive on the left side of the road, not the right. Your safety is important. Road traffic is one of the leading causes of injury death to U.S. travelers in foreign countries.
  • Learn how to access medical and emergency care in London, before you go. In the event of a serious illness or injury call 999, not 911. For minor illnesses and injuries, visit a pharmacy or walk-in center –no appointment is necessary.
  • Take copies of prescriptions with you. Just in case you lose your medications, it is handy to have your prescription list with you.
  • Take an extra pair of glasses with you.  It would be a shame to be there an not see any of it!