Top 3 Reasons To See Your Doctor Before You Travel
Summer is prime travel season. Whether you’re going on an exotic safari, tropical beach trip, or just traveling across the state line, there are reasons to visit your family doctor for a routine health exam. As you plan your trip, be sure to search for a “doctor near me,” and schedule an appointment. Remember, visiting a general physician prior to vacation isn’t about being sick, it’s to prevent it. Here’s why you should see your doctor before you travel.
See A Doctor Before You Travel
Preventative health is the best way to protect yourself, especially if you’re traveling overseas.
- Vaccinations: Before you travel, ensure you’re up-to-date on your vaccinations – routine and otherwise. Depending on where your travels will take you, specific vaccines could be needed based on threats of illnesses in your destination. Even if you’re staying in the U.S., your family doctor will ensure you’re up-to-date on routine vaccines to keep you healthy.
- Recent illness: If you’ve seen your general physician for a recent illness, your doctor may want to discuss whether or not you should travel at all and how to do it in a healthy way. Your family doctor may have special instructions or medications for you to incorporate into your travels to support your immune system.
- Pre-existing condition: From stiff joints to heart issues, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, your family doctor will indicate the issue on your medical records. If you’re in a position where you need medical care during your trip, those doctors will want your current health condition before treating in any way or distributing medication.
More On Vaccinations
- Routine: Protection from diseases common in a number of places throughout the world, even if rare for the U.S.
- Recommended: Vaccines suggested to you by your family doctor depending on your where in the world you’ll go. These vaccinations will protect you from illness commonly found in your travel destination.
- Required: The International Health Regulations or the local government mandates these vaccines. The yellow fever vaccine is the only one required by the International Health Regulations.
Factors that Affect a Traveler’s Health
A number of factors play into your ability to travel safely. During your routine health exam, your family doctor will consider:
- Age, medical history, and current health
- Vaccination record
- Travel destination
- Length of trip
- Activities planned during travels
A healthy and fit 32-year-old planning to backpack across Europe will need very different vaccinations from the 60-year-old planning to snorkel in Maui.
Allow Timing For Vaccinations
It’s best to visit your family doctor as soon as you decide on a travel destination. Some vaccines must be administered over a series of days, or even weeks, and take time to become effective in the body. Make your appointment for a routine health exam and vaccine talks four to six weeks before your trip. When you take the time to prepare your body and health for traveling, you’ll feel more relaxed and be able to enjoy the experience.