Fall 2008
ASK THE EXPERT: TRAVEL MEDICINE
ASK THE EXPERT: TRAVEL MEDICINE


Esther Nash, MD
Q: We’re planning an extended family vacation for next summer and will visit several countries. How do we find out if we need any special vaccines or medications? Are there other health precautions we should take?

Esther Nash, MD, medical director of Bridgeport Hospital’s Healthy Traveler Service, responds:

A: You’re smart to think about ways to protect yourself and your family well in advance of your trip. Your vacation will be all the more enjoyable knowing that you and your family have taken measures to protect your health. The best way to do this is to obtain a pre-travel consultation with a travel medicine specialist. Your travel medicine specialist will review your itinerary, medical history and the common diseases and health risks associated with your destinations. You will also be counseled regarding specific measures you can take to prevent getting hurt or sick during your trip and what to do in the event that you do get sick.

Depending on where you are going, you may need vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, polio, yellow fever or meningococcal disease, to name a few. You will also want to make sure you have medications to prevent travel-related illnesses such as malaria and treat travelers’ diarrhea, should that develop.

To be adequately protected, you should have a travel consultation at least four to six weeks before travel, because vaccinations require several weeks to take effect.

Some online resources for travel health information are:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention– Travelers’ Health: www.cdc.gov/travel
  • The World Health Organization: www.who.int/ith
  • International Society of Travel Medicine: www.istm.org
  • U.S. State Department: www.state.gov/travel (see travel warnings, emergencies, crisis awareness and preparedness, consular information and special services).

Healthy Traveler Service at Bridgeport Hospital

The Healthy Traveler Service at Bridgeport Hospital provides pre-travel consultations, vaccines and medications to help you prepare for healthy and safe international travel. Our physicians specialize in preventing travel-related illness and injury. We are an authorized Connecticut Department of Public Health Yellow Fever vaccination clinic. For information or an appointment, please call 203-384-3613.