Visit A Travel Clinic At Least Six To Eight Weeks Prior To Travel
If you have an actual travel clinic near you that will be the best place to visit. We didn’t have a clinic with in short driving distance to our home, but we did find a local doctor who specialized in travel medicine and had done a lot of foreign travel himself. Your regular GP is not going to have all the information you are going to need.
Make sure you go to the clinic well in advance. Some immunizations can take time to become effective or may need booster shots. It is best to make inquiries about what vaccinations you might need for travel well in advance of actually getting them. You might be shocked at how much money you are going to have to spend. If you need to be getting the gamut of immunizations such as various Hepatitis shots, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid and Tetanus, the bill can run into hundreds of dollars! If you need to add malaria tablets to the list it can nearly break you. During our trip around the world we were going to be in malaria zones requiring Malarone (one of the most expensive malaria drugs) for three months. That medication alone cost us almost $1000 for the two of us. I can’t remember the exact cost, but I think it was at least another $300 each for vaccinations.
What To Discuss With The Travel Clinic
When we took our around the world trip we had no definite plans of where our travels might take us. This made it more difficult to prepare for health wise. In some cases we had to take preventative measures just in case we encountered a situation while traveling.
- What countries will you be visiting?
- What areas of those countries, big cities only, rural areas, farms?
- The time of year you visit an area can make a difference and the length of time in the area
- The elevation you are at in a country can mean the difference when it comes to the risk of Malaria
- Your age and any pre-medical conditions can possibly put you into a higher risk category
- What type of travel are you doing? Backpacking into remote areas or high end hotel stays?
- Will you be in areas of high altitude?
IAMAT, International Association For Medical Assistance To Travelers
Signing up for an IAMAT membership was one of the first things we did when starting to plan our travels. It will give you piece of mind that you will have assistance with medical issues while traveling in a foreign country, including remote locations. Joining IAMAT is free, but they depend solely on membership donations to fund the program. So please donate!
What can IAMAT do for you?
They have an online travel planner, just put in the country you are going to visit and it will bring up a list of all required vaccinations and recommended vaccinations. Water and food precautions, malaria information and any other health concerns for the country will also be shown. If you need medical assistance it will help you get in touch with a doctor who is fluent in English and has obtained their degree from a developed country. It also guarantees a fixed rate for their consultation regardless of what country you are in. If you have advanced medical issues they can refer you to a specialist in that field.
Center For Disease Control
CDC (Center for Disease Control) is a website for much more than just travel health, but it can be used as a travel health bible. There are sections for health information of over 200 international destinations, vaccinations, clinics, trip preparation, health and safety information for insects, food and water while traveling, as well as yearly “yellow book” of travel health references that you can get online or order a physical copy of.
Who Is WHO?
WHO is the World Health Organization. It is the health authority for the United Nations. They deal with research and standards and support for global health. It is an excellent resource for accurate and up to date information for any health concerns for the country you are going to travel to.
Traveling With Medications
If you are traveling outside of your country with medications you need to take precautions. Some medications may not even be allowed into certain countries. Do research to find out this information ahead of time.
To prevent a situation at a border crossing or airline security:
- Keep all your medications in their original containers with the labels on, this includes over the counter meds as well
- Have a copy of the original prescription that the doctor wrote for the medication
Make sure you know the actual chemical name of the medications in case you need to try and get more of it in another country, but of course always try to take enough for the duration of your trip and a bit extra just in case.