No one enjoys getting sick, especially when you’re traveling. Whether traveling for work or leisure, staying healthy abroad is of the utmost importance. Before you leave on your trip, there are a few things you should know about travel medicine and vaccinations. By being proactive and taking steps to protect yourself before you go, you can help reduce your chances of getting sick while away from home. Read on to learn more about travel medicine, travel health hazards, and what you can do to stay safe while traveling.
What is Travel Medicine?
In 2018, more than 1.4 billion people traveled abroad. Additionally, 405 million Americans went on long-distance business trips. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, some of the top destinations for US leisure and business travelers are Mexico, the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Canada, and Italy. The increasing globalization of travel and business also increases the risk for travel-related diseases and illnesses. The medical profile of those who are traveling internationally becomes more and more diverse and complex every year.
Travel medicine is an ever-changing medical field that exists to provide international travelers with the most up-to-date health and safety recommendations and requirements. The goal of travel medicine is to reduce travelers’ risks for illness and injury during travel by providing proactive and relevant recommendations, care, and counseling. This field gained more attention as the COVID-19 pandemic brought on increased travel restrictions between countries.
Why is it Important to see a Travel Physician before Going Abroad?
Travel Physicians are knowledgeable about the most recent health updates for international travel. It is their priority to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and requirements for traveling to different countries. Travel Physicians can help you protect yourself proactively by getting vaccinations, and during your trip, by providing tips on food safety and other activities. They specialize in international health and work tirelessly to keep up with the ever-changing global health status.
How to Prepare for your Appointment
The CDC recommends visiting a Travel Physician at least six weeks before your departure date in order to ensure you have enough time to receive any necessary vaccinations. Make sure you know how to access your vaccination records and bring them with you to your appointment. Also, have your itinerary on hand, so your provider knows how to best assist you.
The appointment will consist of a comprehensive risk assessment that evaluates the traveler, itinerary, and any destination-specific risks. The Physician uses this information to provide appropriate medical care and make recommendations for health and safety while on the trip.
Travel Medicine: Vaccinations
An important aspect of travel medicine is vaccinations, both routine and special. Being up to date on your routine vaccinations, like Hepatitis A and B and Tetanus, is recommended before traveling anywhere. Some countries have higher concentrations of certain diseases and illnesses than in the US, like Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. In some countries, these more specific and specialized vaccinations are required for entry in order to keep the traveler and the native people safe.
On its website, the CDC offers information on the recommendations and requirements for travel to every country. You can use the “Where are You Going?” search bar to find the health recommendations for the country or countries you visit. These recommendations range from vaccinations to foods to avoid.
It is also important to be aware of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines for international travel. As of August 4, 2022, the United States no longer requires a negative viral COVID-19 test upon entry. As COVID-19 variants decreased in severity, many European countries lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions, like France and Italy. On the other hand, some Asian countries, like China, have heavier restrictions, which include quarantines, vaccinations, and testing requirements. Find your destination’s restrictions by visiting the US Embassy website for that country.
Travel medicine is essential for taking safe and healthy international trips. If you have a work trip coming up, reach out to a Travel Physician today to make your appointment!
How Can We Help?
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