Travel Health Clinics: More Important Than You Might Think
Many people tend to travel abroad without much thought as to how they will protect their health during their trip. However, consulting a travel health specialist is key to having a successful and safe trip. Even if the specialist just imparts advice to the traveler, the specialist will still be providing him or her with the tools needed to stay healthy overseas. When in need of the expertise provided by a travel health clinic, how do you choose the right one?
No two clinics are alike. Doing your homework before choosing one is highly recommended and there are five questions to consider as you search for a travel health specialist or clinic.
What Is the Quality of Care?
When you are choosing a travel health clinic, you will want to find a clinic that makes proper healthcare its main priority. The specialists should listen to your concerns, talk to you about your medical history and should assess the current state of your health. You should never feel rushed or belittled for not knowing about any aspect of travel medicine; the clinic’s main goal should be to help you stay healthy through proper education and preparation.
How Much Industry Expertise Does the Clinic Have?
You will want to find a travel health specialist who works in a clinic with significant experience and comprehensive knowledge in the travel medicine industry and preventative care. Ideally, the clinic would focus solely on travel medicine and travel health, and be knowledgable on conditions pertaining to your destinations, including any layovers.
Is the Clinic a State-Certified Yellow Fever Vaccine Provider?
If you have plans to travel to Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America, you will need to consider a vaccination for yellow fever. These immunizations are only provided by authorized providers who are recognized by the U.S. Yellow Fever Vaccination Registry. This registry is monitored by the Center for Disease Control and individual state health departments, ensuring the quality and safety of the vaccine that is administered to high-risk groups.
Can I Get All the Vaccines I Need?
A good travel health clinic will provide far more than routine vaccinations such as hepatitis A and B, tetanus/diphtheria, HPV, measles, mumps, rubella, shingles and polio. The travel health specialists there should be qualified to give you specialty vaccinations against Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, rabies, typhoid and anthrax. They should also be able to assess your needs and provide you with the appropriate prophylactic medication for malaria, antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea, and other travel supplies, as appropriate.
Is the Clinic Close to Me?
A good rule to follow is to visit a travel health specialist no later than four weeks before you plan to depart. In addition to the initial vaccination, additional booster shots may be required to achieve proper immunity levels for the conditions which you might face. A strict schedule must be followed to complete the vaccination series. If you are traveling to high-risk areas for communicable diseases, then you would be severely impacting your ability to stay safe and healthy by not following the schedule.
Choosing a travel medicine clinic that is within your guidelines of what you consider to be convenient and close is a huge benefit to you. This will allow you to adhere to the vaccination schedules and complete appointments with maximum ease.
Finding Out More
Once you have found a clinic that seems to be a good fit for you, call the local office to schedule your appointment. To measure the quality of your visit after the appointment, ask yourself these questions:
- Did the travel health specialist give you a chance to ask questions?
- Did you feel the specialist was listening to you?
- Did the specialist seem comfortable answering your questions?
- Did the travel health specialist talk to you in a way that you could understand?
- Did you feel the specialist spent enough time with you?
If the answer to the above questions is yes, the clinic is a certified yellow fever provider, they offer all of your vaccines in one stop and the clinic is close to your home or office, then it sounds like you have found the clinic that is right for you. Happy and safe travels!