Why you should visit a travel clinic before your next trip

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International travel is a wonderful and fascinating endeavour, and may feature a weekend getaway to Mexico, mission work in Tanzania, studying abroad in China, or anywhere in between. Regardless of where your plans take you and for how long, however, it is always wise to consider the potential medical issues related to your trip as international travel carries its own health risk.

Travel medicine clinics (travel clinics) are a great tool to help you get the most out of your travels in a safe, proactive, and health conscious way. There have been several cases of people falling ill while on trip and they get helpless while away from home. This has a tremendous effect on the traveller. This can be prevented by getting travel tips from your Travel Physician before you embark on the journey.

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What do travel clinics do? They are medical facilities that specialize in providing preventive medical care such as vaccinations, travel advice, fitness to fly certificates or provide travel related medicine to international travellers. The clinics are run by doctors and nurses who are trained in travel health. They are available worldwide, Nigeria inclusive.

Why should I visit a Travel Clinic? Visiting a travel clinic minimises the risk of getting sick on your trip which can be expensive for you and potentially others if you need to be airlifted or otherwise removed from the country. Sicknesses as common as malaria can pose a huge problem if you come down with it in a non-malaria endemic country where procuring antimalaria can be a huge problem or managing antimalaria can pose a diagnostic dilemma for physicians who are not familiar with it.

Management can warrant quarantine and a lot of investigations with its attendant cost. Falling sick during travel can defeat the purpose of your travel, either for vacation, business, or pilgrimage. For example, travellers’ diarrhoea can cause you to miss business meetings or spoil the fun from your vacation. Sickness on your trip could also pose a threat to yourself, other travellers, locals, as bringing back an infection with you could also endanger the health of your friends, family, co-workers, and community members.

What does a visit to Travel Clinic entail? It is advisable to schedule the visit at least four weeks before your trip. This is to allow some of the vaccines that will be administered on the visit to have provided adequate protection before you travel.

At the travel clinic, the doctor will review your travel destinations and planned activities, and then offer advice, vaccines and medications all tailored to your travel plans. You will also be provided with current recommendations concerning immunizations. When you travel, you may encounter diseases that are more common in the destination country, so it is important you are protected against such by getting vaccinated.

It is also possible to meet common illnesses like flu, measles, chicken pox in crowded spaces like airports and airplanes and run the risk of falling ill while travelling. Some vaccinations like Yellow fever are important to enter some countries. Here, it is not a personal choice and without which you cannot make the trip. At the clinic, you get all the necessary vaccines. The clinic provides you with medications to prevent and treat illnesses in a travel kit. This can include preventative medications for malaria, altitude sickness, motion sickness, diarrhoea, and other diseases you might not even think of.

Travel medicine is not just about jabs and prescriptions, your physician will also discuss other measures aside medications that can prevent illnesses. These include information about eating safe food, drinking safe water, avoiding fresh fruits and veggies. Some destinations are notorious for food and water borne diseases and the travel clinic keeps you abreast of this information so that you do not fall ill on your trip.

Visit to Travel clinic also helps you travel safely when you have special health conditions. Some travellers have special conditions that need to be put into consideration before they can travel safely. These include pregnant women, travellers with children, chronic disabilities, elderly patients, and immunocompromised people. Travellers in this category get the needed additional information from the travel clinics to enable a healthy trip.

The Travel physician will discuss safe travel habits with you. While it is important you enjoy your travel, safety is also important. Advice like not walking alone at night, avoiding excessive drinking or unprotected sex and other safety precautions are important.

Travellers are advised at the travel clinic not to throw cautions to the wind simply because they are on a trip. These reminders help travellers make well-informed decisions while they are away. Further information on healthy travels can be obtained at: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.

Adeniyi Bukola
Q-life Family Clinic
[email protected]

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