What is Travel Medicine?
As you explore the Dedication Health website, you may stumble across our travel medicine page and wonder, “What is travel medicine?” or be curious as to who might use those services and why. If you tend to stay close to Chicago, our general concierge medicine services provided in our North Shore office will be all the care you need, barring special circumstances. However, if you plan to leave the country for travel or work, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with our travel medicine specialist before your departure to take advantage of some important services.
What is Travel Medicine?
Travel medicine was born out of necessity for people who visit different parts of the world and might be exposed to diseases and conditions they wouldn’t at home. For example, the CDC now recommends that most people traveling to South Africa receive a Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccine before departure. Some travelers should also get Hepatitis B, Malaria, Rabies, and Yellow Fever vaccines. Those headed to China should generally get vaccines for Japanese Encephalitis and Polio as well, whereas those visiting the UK have a much smaller list. These lists are updated regularly based on the changing conditions of each location, and a travel medicine specialist will not only keep up-to-date with all current recommendations but will also provide tips for healthy and safe travel, specific to the location you’ll be visiting and relevant to any conditions you have.
The CDC recommends that you visit a doctor 4-6 weeks before you depart in order to ensure your vaccinations have time to take effect. It’s also worth noting that a few vaccinations require a series of treatments before they reach their full effectiveness, so it can be helpful to get in touch with a travel specialist as soon as you know you’ll be leaving the country.
It’s important to make sure you’re healthy before you leave the country. This not only protects other travelers but helps ensure you don’t have issues while you’re away from your primary care provider. It’s common for specialists to perform certain diagnostic tests and a full exam to verify you’re healthy and that all conditions you’ve already been diagnosed with are being managed well before you depart.
Each country has different guidelines for what medications can be brought in and how much of each prescription or over-the-counter medication can be carried with you. A specialist will be familiar with all these guidelines and will make sure you have all your prescriptions filled in advance, let you know what your allowances are, and provide you with the documentation you need to be able to travel with your medications.
If you’re treating any kind of chronic condition, keeping it in check while you’re away will ensure your trip goes smoother. A specialist will discuss your condition with you and provide information on how to manage it during the trip, how to avoid flare-ups or issues, and give advice on what to do if you have a problem.
Jet lag, blood clots, altitude sickness, heat exhaustion, and foodborne illnesses are just a few concerns travelers may be faced with, depending on their destination and overall health. A specialist will talk with you in-depth about the location you’re visiting and will provide tips for that are relevant to you and those in your party, so you will have a healthier and safer trip.
Schedule Your Pre-Travel Appointment with Dedication Health
Now that you can probably answer “What is travel medicine?” and you likely know how it can benefit you, the next step is to schedule an appointment with a travel medicine specialist if you’ll be taking a trip. Santiago A. Candocia, MD, FACP is the travel medicine specialist at Dedication Health, and he’ll gladly help you and your family prepare, so you can have a healthy and enjoyable trip. To book an appointment with Dr. Candocia, call 847-986-6770 and speak with our practice manager Christine about becoming a member of Dedication Health.
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