If you’re traveling abroad, a travel medicine specialist can help make your trip safer and more comfortable. Travel medicine is a relatively new and growing field of medicine devoted to preventing and managing the health issues and risks related to international travel. Scheduling a consultation with a travel doctor before your trip can address issues such as getting the necessary vaccinations, staying current on medications and preparing for emergencies while you’re traveling.
Travel medicine physicians generally recommend that you schedule an appointment about a month before your trip to allow time to deal with issues such as legal requirements, the side effects of vaccines, refilling current prescriptions and making special arrangements for travelers with serious or chronic health conditions. If you’re planning an extended stay, it’s best to schedule your visit even farther ahead to make sure your health needs are covered while you’re away.
If you currently take prescription medications or need other kinds of healthcare support, a travel medicine specialist can make sure that you have the medications or devices you’ll need for the duration of your trip, or that you will be able to get them while you’re gone. You may also be given prescriptions to fill if necessary for problems such as “traveler’s diarrhea,” insect bites or other minor health issues that could arise during your trip.Travel medicine specialists can also provide general information about staying healthy while traveling, such as best practices for eating and drinking, and avoid local hazards.
Whether you’re traveling for business or for pleasure, a visit to a travel medicine specialist can be an essential addition to your trip planning. Our travel medicine experts can help you and your family make the right decisions for staying healthy while you’re seeing the world.
Travel medicine specialists are concerned with all the health-related aspects of travel for children and adults of all ages. While most people might visit a travel medicine doctor before a trip, specialists in this kind of medicine also treat people for any travel-related health problems they might have after they return home.
To help you prepare for your trip, your travel medicine doctor may ask about your destination and any side trips you might be likely to take. That helps to plan the kind of destination-specific vaccinations you may need or to discuss other kinds of health precautions you might need to take, such as treatments for diarrhea or insect bites. Your doctor may suggest other strategies relevant to your circumstances, such as safe sex planning or health precautions related to the specific activities you plan to do, like scuba diving or hiking.
Depending on your destination, you may need certain vaccinations against locally common diseases such as malaria, or to update vaccinations you’ve had in the past for diseases such as varicella (chicken pox), tetanus or rubella. Some countries require certifications for certain vaccinations, or documentation that travelers are free of medical conditions such as AIDS, and your travel medicine specialist can sign off on these documents for you.
Scheduling your pre-travel consultation well in advance of your trip allows for time to recover from any vaccine side effects and ensure that you’ve acquired the necessary immunity to avoid illness during your trip. If possible, talk to your doctor about three months before your trip to ensure that you fully understand which vaccines you’ll need and to give enough time for each of them to take full effect.
Pre-travel vaccinations will hopefully prevent you from developing an illness during your trip, but if you do become sick while traveling or after returning, we can schedule a follow-up appointment to diagnose and treat your illness.
Coverage for a travel medicine appointment will vary depending on your insurance coverage. Contact your insurer to find out which costs are covered.
There isn’t a vaccine for everything, so keep in mind that there are some illnesses to which you may still be vulnerable, even with a full round of travel vaccinations. Most vaccines do not have any serious side effects, but immediately following your appointment you may experience some nausea, headaches, and aches or soreness in the area where the vaccine was administered. If these side effects occur, it should only be for a brief period. If you experience any side effects that are causing you worry or concern, you should contact your travel medicine physician immediately.
In addition to travel medicine, Medical Offices of Manhattan also provides flu vaccinations, as well as childhood vaccines and booster shots.