Travel Medicine (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- 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
Travel health insurance & medical evacuation insurance
Most health insurance policies have very limited coverage outside the home country, and your portion of the cost may be much more than it would be at home. Some may not cover travel-related care at all, or not cover emergencies related to high-risk activities. You may also be more comfortable with familiar health care in familiar surroundings, and being seriously ill away from home and family may can add an unanticipated and heavy financial burden, as well as psychological stress. Furthermore, most care will require up front cash or credit payment or not accept health insurance.
If you have a chronic disease, immune deficiency, or are pregnant in the third trimester, it may be especially beneficial, but anyone traveling outside the continental U.S. may wish to consider purchasing short-term travel health or medical evacuation insurance. This type of coverage is usually inexpensive compared to the cost of an unexpected health emergency. Most out of country health emergencies are related to motor-vehicle accidents and trauma, rather than health issues.
The U.S. Department of State can provide information on health care and medical emergencies when traveling abroad (http://www. travel.state.gov).
Travel safety and health alerts
Keep current on travel warnings and alerts related to crime, civil unrest, or terrorism by checking with the U.S. State Department for current travel alerts and warnings (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html). Enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) with the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs Register your itinerary and contact information with the U.S. Consulate office at your destination (https://step.state.gov/step/).
Where can I find additional information?
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a web site that can give you details about travel-related illnesses and precautions specific to individual countries: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/. To contact the CDC by phone, call 877-FYI-TRIP.
- CDC has a Find a Clinic web page to help you find a travel clinic: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/find-clinic.
- CDC also has a web page to help you find a travel clinic that is also an authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellow-fever-vaccination-clinics-search.aspx.
- The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has a list of clinics that specialize in travel medicine: http://www.astmh.org/source/ClinicalDirectory/.
- Your doctor or the local public-health department will be able to help you manage chronic diseases abroad and get the vaccines and prescriptions you need.
Learn more about: yellow fever vaccine
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Health Information for International Travel 2012. New York: Oxford University Press; 2012.
Get the latest treatment options.