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Your Passport to Healthy Travel Worldwide

Passport? Luggage? Pre-travel immunizations, counseling and medication? You may not be ready to go if you haven’t consulted your physician to help protect you and your family.

“Good health is key to memorable vacations,successful business trips and other factors that mightcause you to travel, including volunteer and mission trips abroad, adoptions, and government work assignments outside the U.S.,” says family medicine physician Jennifer Turkish, M.D.

“Your physician will review your medical history and itinerary, then administer and prescribe immunizations and medications to reduce your risk of illness,” says Dr. Turkish.

Your physician can also discuss risk management during yourtrip, including travel-specific health hazards, such as food and water precautions, insect bite prevention and medications to prevent motion sickness, travelers’ diarrhea and for protection in malariaendemic areas. Some travelers might also want to take extra precautions while on a cruise, traveling extensively by air, or visiting extreme climates or high altitudes.

“Travelers can also help themselves,” says Dr. Turkish. “Take adequate supplies of prescription medications in original containers with you, along with a copy of the prescription. Anyone with a history of heart disease should carry a baseline EKG with them to facilitate onboard or overseas medical care, should it be required.”

When To See Your Physician Before You Travel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you make an appointment with your physician four to six weeks before your trip for advice on the travel medicine, information and immunizations you need before you travel.

Most vaccines take time to become effective in your body and some vaccines must be given in a series over a period of days or sometimes weeks. If it is less than four weeks before your departure, you should still see your doctor. You may still benefit from shots or medications and other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Some immunizations are routine, some are required, and some are recommended, depending on your destination. Infants and children, adults, senior citizens and anyone with altered immunocompetence due to illnesses such as diabetes or HIV have different needs. Your physician can help you decide what’s best for you.

For more information on required and recommended vaccines for travelers to specific countries, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/vaccinations.htm.

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