Know Before You Go: The Importance of Travel Medicine

Regardless of the season or the year, the experts at Apex Medical Center want you to be safe when you travel. Medical care isn’t usually at the top of your mind when you travel, but you should certainly give travel medicine some consideration, especially right now. 

Before you go

Under normal circumstances, we encourage you to get a pre-travel exam before you take an international trip. During a pre-travel exam, your doctor reviews your medical history and current situation, considers your vital signs like blood pressure and how well your lungs are working, and checks to make sure all your vaccines are up-to-date and appropriate for the area where you plan to travel. 

If you take any medications regularly, make sure you have them and that there are no restrictions on taking them with you. 

Since the current times are anything but normal, there are a few other things you need to consider before planning a trip. First, there are travel restrictions for people coming from the United States in many parts of the world. You should check with the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs to make sure it’s possible to travel to your chosen destination, and find out if there are restrictions or advisories.

If you’ve been anywhere you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, you may want to consider being tested and isolating for two weeks prior to your trip. This course of action ensures you aren’t spreading the virus by taking a trip. 

You should also look at the rate of community spread in your destination. If the rate of transmission is high, reconsider your trip if possible. 

Travel

If you’re flying, you’ll need to wear a mask. In fact, most airlines aren’t allowing passengers to board without a mask. Similarly, travel by train or bus also requires a mask for safety. 

If you’re driving to your destination, think about where you will stop to use the restroom, eat, or take breaks. By thinking about all of those details ahead of time, you’re less likely to find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do. 

Wearing a mask in public, washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowded areas are three ways to protect yourself no matter where your travels take you. 

Arrival

Depending on your destination, you may be required to quarantine for a period of time once you arrive. Through careful planning, you’ll already know if that’s the case or not. If you know you’re going to be quarantined, be prepared with books or other activities. 

Be sure to follow the local regulations. If the area is under a mask mandate, don’t violate it. 

Know where you can get care if you develop symptoms or have other health issues on your trip. This may require some calls ahead of your trip or upon arrival. Currently, some areas are utilizing urgent care centers more, and in others primary care providers are only seeing people under particular circumstances. 

The safest decision

The safest decision when it comes to traveling during a pandemic is to stay at home. The fewer people you’re around, the less likely it is you can transmit the virus. There are times that travel can’t be avoided, though. There are even some ways you can vacation with less risk. 

For example, a trip to the beach where you stay at a private residence with a kitchen and prepare most of your own food, limit outings to shopping centers or bars, and spend plenty of time outside, distant from others, is far safer than staying at a busy resort, dining out nightly, and frequenting bars and clubs. 

Regardless of the reason for your trip or what you’ll be doing while you travel, a visit with your care provider prior to going can give you critical information as well as some measure of peace of mind. Book your appointment at any of our three convenient locations today to discuss traveling during a pandemic.

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