Consult Your Doctor before Traveling Overseas

World travel is on the rise. More than a billion international tourists arrived at their destinations in 2012 and that number is expected to nearly double by 2030.

Traveling abroad can have a big impact on both individuals and society, as people become more open to new ways of life and walls between cultures begin to crumble. But it can also have a big impact on public health—and in not-so-positive ways. With visits to countries in Asia and Africa increasing, more travelers are getting exposed to a variety of conditions not commonly found in the United States, such as: malaria, dengue, measles and other tropical infections.

Fortunately, many of the most widespread travel-related illnesses are vaccine-preventable, which means a simple visit to your doctor before you depart can drastically reduce your risk of coming home sick.

There’s a lot to do when you’re planning a trip abroad—from planning itineraries and making reservations to shopping for necessities and deciding what to pack. A consultation with a Portland physician should always be one of them. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your visit:

Make an appointment well in advance. Some vaccines require several weeks to take effect. To make sure you get all of your necessary immunizations in time, schedule an appointment for at least six to eight weeks before your trip. Depending on where you are traveling, special immunizations may be needed that are not always available so be sure to plan far enough in advance of your trip.

Give your doctor all the info. In addition to determining what immunizations you’ll need for the part of the world you’re visiting, your Portland travel medicine provider may also make special recommendations based on the types of activities you have planned. Let your doctor know:

  • Where you plan to travel
  • What activities you might engage in
  • How long your trip will be
  • What types of lodgings you’ll be staying in
  • Your medical and vaccine history
  • Your current medical condition
  • Whether you’re pregnant, breast-feeding or trying to become pregnant

Ask about health advisories. Depending on your destination, your doctor may be aware of current public health issues that could impact your travel plans. For example, with the recent outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in South and Central America, pregnant women are being advised to abstain from traveling to certain countries, and tourists are being urged to take extra precautions to avoid insect bites.

Discuss allergies and current medications. If you have any health needs that may affect your travel plans, your doctor can help you address any concerns and determine what steps you’ll need to take to maintain your well-being abroad.

When you’re traveling overseas, a little planning goes a long way. By visiting a Portland travel medicine provider well in advance, you can prevent your trip abroad from becoming a healthcare nightmare.


Photo by MabyCakes via CC License