In 2017, a record-breaking 4.1 billion passengers flew on scheduled airline services, which was an increase of 7.3% from the previous year. However, regardless of purpose for travel, studies have shown that only 24-36% of travelers seek pre-travel health consultation.
This increase in the frequency of traveling and composition of passengers with different medical conditions and geographical regions makes the importance of travel medicine consultation even more significant.
What is Travel Medicine?
Travel Medicine is an emerging field of medicine, brought about due to rapid globalization. Previously, Travel Medicine was only deemed necessary for people traveling to developing countries, and was limited to providing them with preventive measures and treatments for common local diseases and general vaccinations.
Currently Travel Medicine is a multidisciplinary branch of medicine that encompasses multiple aspects of infectious diseases, public health, tropical medicine, wilderness medicine, and appropriate immunization.
In simple words, Travel Medicine is a branch of medicine that specializes in diseases and conditions that are encountered during travels.
Travel Medicine constitutes of immunization (hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, tetanus, diphtheria, polio), preventive medications (against traveler’s diarrhea, malaria, tuberculosis), and general precautions (foods, beverages, weather, insect bites, and personal hygiene).
What happens in a Travel Medicine consultation?
Travel Medicine consultation rarely requires physical examinations, except in a few cases where laboratory results are required in visa applications. It generally involves a face-to-face interaction with a specialist in travel and health care.
You will be asked to bring a detailed documentation of your current medical conditions and allergies, previous vaccinations, and itinerary listings for all the activities in your travel. The outcome of consultation ranges from simple advice such as avoiding the local water supply, to important recommendations such as vaccinations.
Additionally, Travel Medicine also covers topics like altitude sickness, fear of flying, jet lag, insect bite precautions, food/water hygiene, and other travel-related issues.
What are the levels of Travel Medicine?
There are three levels of prevention that Travel Medicine encompasses.
1. Primary Prevention
This level of prevention deals with making travelers aware of infectious and non-infectious diseases, vaccination, information on foodborne diseases, safety measures, precautions for sports accidents, as well as envenomation and poisoning.
A proper consultation will include guidelines for self-treatment procedures and also appropriate insurance claims when necessary.
2. Secondary Prevention
This level of prevention includes pre-travel checkups and treatment of underlying medical conditions and disorders. The patient and doctor must assess and analyze the risk of various health conditions before deeming them fit for travel.
3. Tertiary Prevention
This level focuses on providing early treatment to the patient to avoid severe consequences in the future. Treatments for internal trauma surgery and other medical emergencies belong to the tertiary level of prevention.
Why is Travel Medicine important?
Travel Medicine consultation is important regardless of whether you are a domestic or international traveler.
Most international travelers are accustomed to the comfortable environment of their homes, where there is hygienic food, clean water, and little to or no exposure to diseases. When traveling abroad, these same travelers are exposed to foreign environmental conditions which can severely impact their health and safety.
These medical problems become severe when the traveler is unable to speak the native language, or understand the system or services. Thus, it is necessary for international travelers to get a consultation prior to their journey from a professional. This allows the specialist to analyse the current condition of the patient and also determine if they are well-suited to travel to that region.
Up-to-date immunization is also important for protection from diseases prevalent in the destination locale.
Travel Medicine also serves as an overall strategy for you, as a traveler, to stay healthy and safe during your trip.
When you are traveling without proper guidance, there are high chances of getting sick, which may cost you more than the cost of a consultation, especially if you have to depend upon others when you are injured, or need to get airlifted from your trip.
Getting sick on a trip can also not only impose a threat on your well-being, but also to other travelers and local people. And even it’s a minor illness, falling sick while on a trip isn’t fun.
Be responsible for your own health and seek Travel Medicine consultation prior to the expedition.
Looking For a Reliable Travel Medicine Centre?
Swacon International Hospital is member of International Society of Travel Medicine, and provides quick and responsive healthcare consultations which is personalized according to the need of individual travelers.
We are committed to provide our patients with the highest standard of safe and quality healthcare with a unique hospitality experience. Our services in Travel Medicine include Mountain Medicine, Rescue Medicine, Physical Examinations & Immunizations, and Travel Safety Advice.
For more information, book an appointment online, contact us at 014478105, or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.