A healthy trip abroad begins at your local travel clinic
By Nancy Ciuk, NP
A traveler who was about to leave for an exotic journey halfway around the world stopped by our clinic for information, only to find that a yellow fever vaccine was required for one of his destinations. Fortunately, his trip included a layover in Paris, where we located a 24-hour clinic at the airport which had the required immunization.
That was a close call, and probably not the best idea when planning a well- deserved vacation far away. Increasingly, travelers are scheduling appointments with a medical professional who specializes in travel medicine well before their departure. At the end of their visit, they leave with a detailed and personalized package which includes the latest safety alerts, general health concerns about their specific travel destinations, legally required or medically recommended immunizations, as well as an official International Certificate of vaccination required before visiting some countries abroad.
In addition, travel medicine professionals provide comprehensive counseling on practical ways that travelers can avoid preventable illnesses that may derail their health anywhere in the world.
Much of this valuable information comes from the national and international organizations such as the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and Shoreland Travax Inc., which provide travel clinics like ours here at 610 North St. with a level of detail not available to the general public. Interpreting these reports for the traveler is a physician or nurse practitioner who ensures that the information is understood, that necessary vaccines are ordered, and that all precautions are discussed. In addition, the practitioner will review the traveler’s own health history to see if there are any other safety measures that should be taken to ensure a healthy trip.
In fact, patients report these discussions to be the most valuable for planning their adventures abroad. We discuss the quality of food and water they can expect to find in the regions on their itineraries so they can make the safest selections to avoid hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera or a bout of traveler’s diarrhea. Preventing mosquito and other insect bites is another important topic, particularly if malaria, zika, dengue fever or other insect-borne diseases are prevalent on their journey. We even provide contact information for US Embassies abroad in case of emergencies.
For patients who are unsure about the necessity of vaccines, we welcome a detailed discussion regarding an individual’s risks and the benefits of receiving vaccines related to international travel such as hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, cholera, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and meningitis vaccines. We also offer routine immunizations such as flu or DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) vaccines as needed.
A visit to your local travel clinic will identify travel-related risks and provide the kind of specific information that will enable you to set off on your business trip or great vacation adventure with confidence.
Nancy Ciuk, NP, BMC Travel Clinic