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Pre-travel Health Checks: Important Benefits of Pre-travel Consultation

Pre-travel the consultation provides an opportunity for travelers to be properly prepared to prevent the occurrence of health diseases and to address health concerns that may arise during their trips. The main objectives of pre-travel health checks are to be able to assess the traveler’s trip plans and identify potential health hazards; to provide adequate education to travelers about anticipated risk and preventive measures; for travelers to undergo immunizations as necessary to prevent diseases and take prophylactic medications, initiate self-treatment or both; and provides empowerment for travelers in managing their own health during the trip through health advice and counseling. The communication skills and expertise of the health provider and the traveler’s health beliefs dictate the outcome of the pre-travel consultation.

For a successful pre-travel consultation, the health advisor should have familiarity about the traveler’s destination, its infrastructure, culture and disease patterns. Those healthcare providers who are involved in pre-travel consultation must have an in-depth knowledge of travel medicine and must be familiar with the traveler’s medical history. A travel medicine specialist is highly knowledgeable about immunizations, risks associated with particular destinations, and health implications of traveling underlying conditions. What are the components of pre-travel checks? Pre-travel checks must be incorporated with the traveler’s travel purpose, itinerary, trip duration, and activities, all that can determine health risks. Information necessary for risk assessment during pre-travel check-up include past medical history, special conditions, immunization history, prior travel experience, reason for travel, itinerary, season for travel, travel style, and special activities.

Once you seek a health advisor you’ll be given a personalized advice, highlighting the risks and exposures, and you will be reminded of ubiquitous risks such as foodborne infections, waterborne infections, injury, respiratory tract infections, bloodborne infections and sexually transmitted infections. It is crucial that you are equipped with the right, knowledge, and attitude to do self-treatment especially if you are traveling to a place that has limited medical facilities or remote areas without the presence of any healthcare provider. Travelers often experience these health conditions: traveler’s diarrhea, altitude illness, jet lag, motion sickness, respiratory infections, skin conditions, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, occupational exposure to HIV and malaria. It’s very important for travelers to have a travel health kit that prescription and nonprescription medications.

The vaccines you need to consider during pre-travel consultation include hepatitis B, HPV, influenza, MMR, meningococcal, pneumococcal, rotavirus, DPT, and varicella zoster. Travel vaccines include cholera vaccine, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis vaccine, rabies, tickborne encephalitis, typhoid and yellow fever vaccine. During a pre-travel consultation, the major topics for discussion include immunizations, respiratory illnesses, vector-borne diseases, malaria chemoprophylaxis, traveler’s diarrhea, altitude illness, environmental hazards, personal safety, sexual health and bloodborne pathogens, and disease-specific counseling.

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