The secret to staying healthy abroad

The secret to staying healthy abroad

Holiday, leisure, volunteer, and business travel are some possible reasons you are planning on traveling internationally. But no matter what your reasoning is for jet setting around the country, no one wants to get sick while abroad.

“Discussing your international travel plans in advance with a medical provider can help ensure you are ready to manage your health while abroad,” says Cheryl Culberson, an occupational health and travel medicine nurse practitioner at Advocate Heath Care. These kinds of appointments are called travel consultations.

At the consult, you will learn how to prevent common illnesses in the country you plan on visiting. “Travel consultations are very specific to where you are going,” explains Culberson. “We will have different recommendations for medications, vaccines and overall helpful travel health tips based on your plans.”

To prepare for your travel consultation, here is what you can expect at the appointment:

1. Sharing your itinerary. Your travel medicine expert needs to know what countries you plan on visiting and what activities you have planned. “Your itinerary is what we base our recommendations on. For example, we will want an idea of whether you plan on eating at your resort for every meal or if you are going hiking or ziplining,” says Culberson.

2. Receiving recommended vaccines. Based on current outbreak and prevalence data that travel medicine experts have access to, you will receive vaccines to prevent diseases that are not common in the U.S. “Travel medicine clinics are unique to primary care providers because they have the exotic vaccines international travelers need but can’t get at their regular doctor,” says Culberson. “Plan on getting your vaccines at least a month in advance before you depart to make sure you get all of the recommended doses.”

Some common exotic vaccines given at travel consultations include:

  • Hepatitis A vaccine
  • Typhoid vaccine
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Japanese encephalitis vaccine

It’s also important to get common vaccines such as the flu and tetanus shot ahead of your office visit.

3. Reviewing recommended medications. During the appointment, you will get information on what medications you should pack in case you get sick such as malaria prevention and traveler’s diarrhea medications. Some may require a prescription.

4. Learning safety tips. You will walk away from your appointment with tips on how to choose the right bug spray and clothing to prevent malaria and you will also receive a list of first aid supplies to pack.

“If you have any specific concerns, bring it up at your appointment so your provider can make sure to cover that topic in depth and help you feel prepared so you can enjoy your time away,” explains Culberson.

Do you have upcoming travel planned? Schedule a travel consult in Illinois or Wisconsin.

Related Posts


Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is an external communications specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her bachelor's degree in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in health care public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.