Whether it’s for pleasure, business, volunteering or education, more Americans are traveling internationally than ever before. Having the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of different cultures is exciting and often life-changing. But nothing can put an end to the fun of your daughter’s mission trip to Ecuador quite like a bad case of altitude sickness – especially when it could have been prevented with a little advanced preparation.
So what can you do to be proactive, prepared and protected when it comes to your health while traveling? Here are a few simple steps:
Step 1: Visit the CDC’s travel website
Once you know your itinerary, a good next step is visiting The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and looking under “Traveler’s Health.” The website provides country-specific information on recommended or required vaccinations, as well as travel notices that inform travelers about current health issues/disease risks related to specific destinations.
Step 2: Schedule a travel consultation with a healthcare provider
“You can schedule a travel consult with our providers, at any one of our three locations,” explained Dr. Robert Wallace of Suburban Pediatrics. “It’s best to schedule the consult at least 4-6 weeks prior to your arrival in the foreign country to allow the appropriate time for receiving any necessary immunizations and prescription medications. Some vaccinations such as the Yellow Fever and injectable Typhoid vaccines require patients to go to a local clinic to receive them. We can refer our patients to those clinics.”
Local clinics include:
- Children’s Hospital Medical Center
- Passport Health
- Global Health Services
- Your local health department
Helpful mobile apps
The CDC also offers convenient, downloadable mobile apps to help in planning for safe and healthy international travel. Both apps are available for both Android, iPhone and iPad:
- Can I Eat This?