Before you travel overseas, and sometimes when you travel within your own home country, it’s recommended that you see a doctor before your trip.
The following are the top 3 reasons to see a doctor before you travel:
There are a number of factors specific to each person that can affect their health during travel:
A fit and healthy 28-year old planning a white water rafting trip in tropical South America will find that they have very different vaccination needs than a 63-year old planning to walk the Great Wall of China.
Every region of the world has specific health hazards. Travelers to South America, for example, are recommended to get the yellow fever vaccination; travelers headed to Saudi Arabia need a meningococcal vaccination (it’s actually required by the government).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, divide vaccines for travel into three categories:
The only vaccine required by the International Health Regulations is the yellow fever vaccination for travel in certain countries. See the CDC destination map for regional health recommendations.
Vaccines take time to reach an effective state in the human body, and some have to be administered in a series over a period of days or even weeks. The best time to see your doctor is at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. That will give you, and your doctor, the necessary time to administer any required vaccinations and ensure that there are not adverse reactions.
In addition, this amount of lead time will ensure that you get your health questions answered and have time to purchase any required medications that will be necessary during your trip.
If you will be traveling for any significant amount of time, you’ll want to arrange for and purchase the medications you’ll need on your trip. Keep those medications in their proper prescription bottles, so they are identifiable by TSA and Security officials.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.