Why Travel Medicine?
Health conditions and disease conditions differ around the world. People who live in different parts of the world tend to have immunities to different diseases. The human body develops natural defenses against the germs that live in the area with them. These defenses are called “immunities.”
This has 2 effects:
- Travelers often bring diseases with them to which the local inhabitants are not immune.
- Travelers are often not immune to the germs and diseases already present in the area they are visiting. These diseases range from discomforting to life threatening.
Educate yourself :
- Know which diseases are most common in the areas you will be traveling to and through.
- Realize how infectious diseases are spread:
- Person to person contact by direct contact including sexual contact.
- Person to person by indirect contact by handling contaminated objects.
- By insects or animals.
- Through water or food.
Protective steps before you go:
- Begin up-to-date immunizations and obtain protective medications from your doctor allowing for sufficient time before travel. This sometimes may mean a number of months! During this time, make sure you find out what medications to bring with you and order them well beforehand so that you have ample time to have them shipped to you.
- Obtain a thorough travel report from your doctor including risk summaries, prevention information, immunization summaries, official health data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), current health concerns of the areas you will be traveling to and through, and U.S. State Department advisories.
- Obtain qualified advice from experts who have traveled extensively.
Protective Steps While Traveling:
- Understand that food and water can be risky everywhere.
- Use discretion about human contact.
- Wash uncooked foods in bottled or boiled water
- Do not bathe or swim in water you are not certain is sanitary.
- Use reliable insect repellants on skin and clothing (ask for our recommendations).
Information on Immunizations:
Many countries used to require official certificates of immunizations in order to enter. Most of these rules are now protective recommendations. It is up to the traveler to decide which protective vaccinations you should receive except for two exceptions:
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Some countries require an official International Certificate of Yellow Fever Vaccination before you are allowed to enter. Helios Integrated Medicine is a certified center for distributing Yellow Fever Vaccinations. It will be necessary for you to then contact the local or state health department to obtain a certificate.
Pilgrims to Mecca must have this vaccination in order to enter Saudi Arabia. It is also advisable if you will be traveling to parts of Africa around Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Ghana eastward to Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and surrounding areas especially in the dry season (December to June).
Other Recommended Vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A (The most common disease among travelers that can be prevented by a vaccination)
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- And up-to-date childhood immunizations (some travelers may need a booster).
- PolioTd (tetanus, diphtheria)
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
Other Recommended Preventives:
- Insect repellents
Special Needs for Special People:
- These people may have special medication and vaccination needs. Be sure to consult with your physician.
- Pregnant women
- Women who may be pregnant
- Persons allergic to eggs
Stepping off the beaten path?
Unplanned side trips are sometimes the most irresistible and often the most rewarding. If you would like to be free to make these unscheduled trips it is important that you talk to your doctor to find out what additional vaccinations will make your journeys safer. Most vaccinations will last for many years so even if you do not travel off the beaten path this trip, you may be well-prepared for the next.
Please call Helios Integrated Medicine to schedule your travel consult as far ahead of your departure date as possible. (303) 499-9224