Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP
Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP is a U.S. board-certified Infectious Disease subspecialist. Dr. Gompf received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, and a Medical Degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Gompf completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida followed by subspecialty fellowship training there in Infectious Diseases under the directorship of Dr. John T. Sinnott, IV.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Why should travelers see a physician before they leave on a trip?
- What diseases occur in travelers, and how can disease be prevented?
- Traveler's diarrhea
- Meningitis and encephalitis
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A
- Typhoid fever
- What about diseases for which there is no vaccine or preventive medication?
- What is safe to eat and drink while traveling?
- What can I do to avoid insect bites?
- What should be in my travel first-aid kit or medicine kit?
- What are the medical concerns with jet lag?
- What if I have a medical condition or a chronic disease?
- What if I'm traveling while pregnant?
- What about traveling with children?
- Travel health insurance & medical evacuation insurance
- Travel safety and health alerts
- Where can I find additional information?
- Find a local Family Physician in your town
Why should travelers see a physician before they leave on a trip?
Travelers should see a physician before leaving for a trip if
- they are going to developing countries,
- they are visiting sites that are not on the usual tourist routes or traveling to high altitudes,
- they have chronic diseases that could be affected by travel,
- they are visiting countries that require vaccinations before they allow travelers to enter the country.
The goal of a pre-travel medical evaluation is to help travelers protect themselves against (1) common diseases that may be mild but that will disrupt their trip and (2) less common diseases that may be serious or even fatal. All travelers need to be up to date on routine vaccines they would normally get if they were not traveling. For example, an annual influenza vaccination (flu shot) is recommended if traveling during influenza season. Travelers should also be up to date on tetanus vaccines. If a tetanus booster is needed, a physician may elect to use the Tdap vaccine that also provides continuing protect against adult pertussis. No immunizations are required for re-entry into the United States after travel. Some countries require you to provide an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis prior to allowing border entry from certain countries, even if you are only stopping there to change planes, whether you are traveling to your destination or coming home.
What diseases occur in travelers, and how can disease be prevented?
Travelers can pick up infectious diseases from contaminated food or water, from insect bites, animal bites, or from other people. Immunizations, medications, and simple precautions can reduce or eliminate the risk of many of these travel-related infections. While infectious disease is the most common concern for travelers, it is important to remember that the most common cause of death in travelers is motor-vehicle accidents. Be sure to look both ways before crossing the street, review traffic laws (especially in countries where people drive on the opposite side of the road), don't get in a car with a driver who is drunk, and use seat belts and infant/child car seats if available both at home and when traveling.
This review will cover infectious diseases commonly encountered by travelers or those for which vaccinations are recommended. For a more complete discussion of what may be need for travel to specific destinations and specific situations, please refer to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web site (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/).
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