In our increasingly connected world, more and more of us are traveling to and from developing countries every year. If you’re traveling to another country, worry about what you’re going to pack and less about potential health issues.
Our expertise travels with you
While this is an exciting cultural experience, you also want to protect yourself and your family from possible infections and take precautions against other travel-related health problems. We can provide a variety of services to make your trip as safe as possible, including advice about immunizations, medications and care for travel-related illnesses.
We can get you itinerary-specific information on topics such as food and water safety, insect bite prevention, traveler’s diarrhea, malaria prevention and motion sickness.
Protect yourself and your family before your trip through immunizations, preventative medication and education to reduce your risk of contracting diseases or illnesses.
In addition to vaccinations, our specialists can provide health-related advice to help you travel safely. Please bring an itinerary of your travel plans and activities to your appointment and your current immunization records. Once you’ve met with one of our physicians, we’ll give you a written treatment plan outlining the required and recommended vaccines for your destination. If your travel plans put you at risk for infection from water, food or mosquito-borne illness, you’ll receive prescriptions for anti-diarrheal and anti-malarial medicines.
We recommend counseling if you are:
- Planning international adoption
- Returning to foreign countries to visit family
- Traveling with underlying medical conditions or allergies
- Leaving the United States to conduct scientific research
It’s especially important to seek preventative treatment if you’re traveling to a developing country and plan to:
- Enter remote areas
- Have contact with animals
- Intend to stay abroad for more than a few weeks
- Provide clinical care or humanitarian relief
We want to make your trip a little easier and safer for both you and your child. We can provide you with the necessary vaccines as well as recommendations about which foods to avoid, what to do if your child doesn't feel well or the items that should be on your must-pack list.
The change in air pressure during takeoff and landing can lead to discomfort in the ears of small children. Older children and adults should be instructed to swallow, yawn or chew gum. You can also pinch your nostrils together and try to push air out through the nostrils. Feeding an infant during takeoff and landing may help. Those with a recent ear infection, it are probably safe for them to fly when under treatment and no longer having ear pain, headaches or sinus discomfort.
Before you travel in a foreign country, you should understand the rules of the road. Driving in many developing countries can be very dangerous because of poor road and vehicle conditions, a lack of travel regulations and unsafe driving practices. If you plan to drive, learn the local rules. Automobile rental agencies in many foreign countries do not have car seats so be sure to take along a car seat for any infants and toddlers. Have your children ride in the back seat and speak up if your driver is driving too fast.
If you or your child develops diarrhea, the most important thing is to prevent dehydration. Consider bringing along pedialyte or oral rehydration salts. These should be available at pharmacies.
You should apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater to your child's skin. It should be reapplied frequently, especially after swimming or sweating.
You should avoid swimming in any fresh water bodies such as rivers, ponds or lakes, particularly in Asia and Africa. The water may have parasites. Swimming in pools and the ocean should be safer.
By taking a few food- and water-related precautions when traveling to a developing country, you can enjoy your trip instead of worrying. Here are some precautions to minimize your risk of developing a gastrointestinal illness as well as typhoid fever or Hepatitis A:
- Drink and use only bottled beverages—even for brushing your teeth
- Purify your water by boiling it, using a filtering system with iodine or chlorine, or using a UV light source
- Avoid ice
- Avoid raw vegetables and salads. Only eat cooked vegetables and fruit that can be peeled
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and raw meat, poultry and seafood
- Avoid food or drinks from street vendors and buffets as well as open sauces and condiments
Safe travels guidebook
If you're planning to travel to another country, we're here to assist you in making the most of your trip. Traveling abroad can be an incredible experience, but it's always better to be prepared. That's why I have some great travel tips to make your journey safe, comfortable and enjoyable. You can find all the information you need to get ready for your trip in a handy guide that offers advice on staying healthy and safe while exploring new places. The guides are available in 5 different languages so that you can plan your perfect trip with ease.
Testing is available if you are traveling and need a COVID-19 test beforehand. Before traveling, review the latest CDC COVID-19 travel information for state, local, tribal and territorial government restrictions and travel recommendations by destination.
Depending on where you are going, you may need multiple vaccinations or booster shots. Which vaccinations are recommended are determined by your vaccination and health history and the requirements of your destination. Some countries recommend that visitors get particular vaccinations, while others require them as a condition of entry. We will provide you with all the documentation and vaccinations that you need, including:
- Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver and is acquired by consuming contaminated food or water.
- Hepatitis B: This form of hepatitis also affects the liver and is acquired by exposure to blood or via sexual transmission.
- Influenza: Influenza (the flu) is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses. Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and are worse than the common cold.
- Japanese Encephalitis (JE): JE is a mosquito-borne viral infection that affects the brain. It occurs in certain parts of rural Asia during certain times of the year.
- Meningococcus: Neisseira Meninigits is a bacterium that can cause a brain infection known as meningitis. Meningococcal vaccination is required for pilgrims going to Hajj or Umra and is recommended for travelers going to the Meningitis Belt in Africa between December and June.
Measles-Mumps-Rubella: Measles is a highly contagious viral infection spread by coughing or sneezing. We have seen massive outbreaks both in the US and abroad due to lack of vaccination.
- Polio: Polio is a viral infection that can cause permanent neurologic damage. Polio is still present in some developing countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most people in the U.S. have received a primary series of polio vaccines during childhood and will require only a booster injection if traveling to an area where polio remains a risk.
- Pneumococcus: Streptococcus pneumoniae can cause pneumonia, meningitis and systemic infections. Two pneumococcal vaccinations exist and are recommended for certain individuals as part of their routine care. This is not a vaccine that is necessary for travel.
- Rabies: Rabies is transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. Rabies is most common in bats and in dogs in developing countries.
- Tetanus/Tdap: Most people have a primary immunization against tetanus. Boosters are recommended every 5-10 years to prevent tetanus (a bacterial infection that can occur after an injury) and pertussis (whooping cough).
- Typhoid: Typhoid fever is a serious bacterial illness acquired by consuming contaminated food and water in developing countries. There are currently two vaccines for the prevention of typhoid fever.
- Yellow Fever: Yellow fever is a severe and potentially fatal mosquito-borne viral illness common in parts of Africa and South America.
To give you added peace of mind before your trip, we can also fill prescriptions for:
- Malaria prophylaxis
- Traveler’s diarrhea
- Altitude sickness
When you return, contact us if you experience any of the following:
- Urinary tract or genital infections
- Skin disorders
Remember, traveling can be exhausting for your body. If you feel worn out or sick when you return, contact us for advice.
The vaccines you need depend on your destination. One of our specialists will meet with you to review your itinerary, current medical conditions and medications. Based on this information, we’ll recommend certain vaccines.
Yes, we offer COVID-19 testing for out-of-state travel requirements.
Restrictions are constantly changing, so be sure to review the latest requirements before leaving the country. While many countries require you to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to entry, some do not. Some of these may require a negative PCR or rapid antigen test.
You should get your vaccinations one month before your trip, as it may take several weeks to achieve full immunity. However, some vaccines require a second dose and more time for the immunity to take effect. We advise you to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.
The physician will discuss any vaccine-specific risks. Generally, reactions are mild and may include fever or rash at the injection site. Occasionally, vaccines can cause an allergic reaction.
Be very cautious about drinking water in developing countries. Avoid ice cubes and try not to ingest water when showering or brushing your teeth. Instead, use bottled water.
If you are in an area with a risk of malaria, wear clothing with long sleeves, pants and hats, and use netting around your bed. An insect repellent with DEET is the most effective for preventing bites.
Some, but not all, insurance companies will cover vaccines, booster shots and medications needed for traveling. You should always check with your insurance company first.