• Travel Medicine
  • January 2020

Traveling Abroad? Here’s What You Need to Know About Travel Medicine

Dedication Health

Traveling is a great way to broaden your horizons and learn more about foreign people and places. Travel does have its dangers though. You need to take care and keep yourself safe when traveling abroad. If you are considering international travel, a critical part of planning your trip is to call your local travel clinic for help in protecting your health. The CDC recommends travelers receive specific vaccinations and medicine before traveling to many countries.

Medical Issues You Need to Consider When Traveling Abroad

Among other considerations, you may find yourself traveling to places with diseases or viruses that your body has yet to encounter. And which you are highly vulnerable to as a result. There are many foreign disease and viruses across the world including malaria, coronavirus, yellow fever, and more. This is why travel medicine in the form of preventative vaccines and other health measures needs to be an important part of your basic travel preparations. Here are a few things to consider before embarking on your next overseas trip.

Get Any Vaccinations That You Need for the Country You Are Visiting

Before traveling overseas you should talk to your doctor or a medical travel clinic to see what travel vaccines are recommended for the area you will be visiting. You’ll want to do this well in advance of your trip to ensure that any delays don’t affect your travel plans. Certain travel vaccinations are required when traveling abroad to some areas. While others are strongly encouraged, but not mandatory. A travel clinic will be able to inform you and administer all required and recommended vaccines you need based on your itinerary. Generally, you’ll get vaccinated for tetanus, measles, mumps, and rubella. You might need vaccines for yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A, and other diseases. You may also need preventative medications such as an anti-malarial medication, and medication to prevent severe traveler’s diarrhea or motion sickness.

Find out What the Medical Risks Are in the Areas You Will Be Visiting

Different regions have different travel health risks, so you should learn about these before you depart. For example, you are probably used to being able to drink from local water supplies without risk. However, In some countries the water may contain diseases and parasites that may affect you adversely. Consulting a travel medicine specialist before traveling abroad will give you all the information you need about medical risks in the area.

Street food can have similar risks, sometimes for the same reason. Food is often prepared using the local water supply and under-cooked food may harbor some nasty surprises as a result, along with any parasites in the food itself. Fruit such as melons are often sold by weight, and unscrupulous vendors and suppliers will often pump extra water into the fruit to get the weight up. This may introduce contamination into fruit that would otherwise be disease-free.

Find out If You Need to Take Anything With You for Health Reasons

Not all risks in a region can be countered with vaccines and preventative travel medicine. Diseases such as dengue fever have no vaccinations available. In the case of dengue fever, you can take other measures though. Because it is transmitted via mosquitoes you can make use of insect repellents and mosquito-proof netting for your bed to ensure that you don’t catch it. Japanese encephalitis is another mosquito-borne disease that requires similar precautions.

You should also be careful when traveling abroad if you are susceptible to allergies. Local foods may be prepared in ways that mix trace amounts of other foods in if the utensils aren’t properly cleaned, which may be a problem if you have food allergies. Local insects may also be a problem if you are susceptible to certain kinds of insect bites. You might need to take an epinephrine pen with you if you feel you may be at risk of an allergic reaction.

Find out What Medications and Other Substances May Be Banned in the Area You Are Visiting

If you have medications that you take for one reason or another then you should be careful that one of those medications isn’t a banned substance in the region you will be going to. Aderall is an illegal substance in some regions for example. So if you take it for ADHD you should find out if it is allowed in your destination. A travel health clinic will be able to provide a country-by-country list of medication allowances. As well as a letter granting permission to travel with any required prescription medications.

Travel Health Services for Those Traveling Abroad

Foreign countries can be fascinating places to visit for both personal and business reasons,. But they each have their own travel health risks and concerns. It’s important to educate yourself and take any needed medical precautions before you travel to new destinations. Getting sick while traveling abroad and bringing contagious diseases home with you can turn out to be expensive. Most importantly, it can be dangerous for both you and your family. So take some care to ensure that your trip is an enjoyable and healthy one. If you’re near Chicago, choose Dedication Health as your travel clinic. You’ll receive valuable safety tips and precautions to ensure your family is prepared for travel abroad. Please contact our practice at 847-986-6770 or by filling out our contact form online for more information.

To learn more about travel medicine, browse the links below.

What is Travel Medicine?

Travel Medicine and Vaccination

Travel Medicine Checklist: Complete Guide to Staying Healthy Overseas