Airplane snacks? Check.
Before going away, Concord Hospital officials recommend adding an important item to the checklist — a visit to Concord Hospital Medical Group’s Infectious Disease’s International Travel Clinic.
Specialists at the clinic, located in the Memorial Medical Office Building on the Concord Hospital campus, review a traveler’s itinerary and medical record and latest information on medical outbreaks around the world. They then tailor an education session, can administer all necessary vaccinations and prescribe other medication for a safe trip. The goal is to help travelers avoid everything from mosquito-borne illnesses and jet lag, to altitude sickness and severe diarrhea.
“A lot of travelers go to exotic places such as Southeast Asia and Africa, where there are a number of infectious diseases that can come up, if they are not prepared,” said Dr. Joshua White, an infectious disease specialist.
White and his colleagues offer precautions about what to eat and drink and can prescribe medication, as needed, to carry on the trip, especially if the itinerary includes areas where malaria is a risk. The clinic recommendations also address issues like getting up and stretching on long flights and how to avoid jet lag. If the itinerary includes countries with poor medical care, travelers get information on which nearby city or country provides care that meets international standards.
White said perhaps the most common affliction is travelers’ diarrhea, often because of little mistakes.
“People usually remember not to drink the water, but they forget not to use ice cubes or not to brush their teeth in the tap water.”
If travelers are headed to mountainous areas, altitude sickness also is discussed. The clinic team can prescribe a medication to guard against it. Pregnant travelers, those with medical conditions or taking medications that may affect potential travel risks also get personal advice. If travelers bring an illness home, the clinic is available for urgent appointments.
“If you visited here before your trip and we have an idea of your itinerary, your medical history and what vaccinations or medications you received, it’s a lot easier for us to figure out what’s wrong and treat you adequately,” White said.
In an age when many people complete their own online research, even for international travel, White said a visit to the clinic still is important. Many countries require certain vaccinations, such as yellow fever, that may not be available in a primary care office.
“When someone gets really sick, it affects everyone on the trip — the children, the spouse,” said White.
“It kind of ruins the trip. I think it is well worth coming here.”
To schedule an appointment, call 230-1939 or visit concordhospital.org.