Young woman traveling abroad
March 21, 2018 | by Trong Tony Trinh MD, MPH

Is international travel on your horizon this spring or summer? Make sure your travel planning includes a visit with an experienced travel medicine specialist. This visit will help ensure you are prepared for any health-related travel precautions so that you can more fully enjoy your trip. Depending on your destination, you may need vaccinations or medications to protect you from getting sick.

Our travel medicine specialists are board-certified infectious disease physicians who keep up-to-date on all of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel health notices worldwide.

Examples of current alerts for international travel include:

  • Zambia – Cholera
  • South Africa – Listeriosis Brazil-Yellow Fever, Malaria
  • Caribbean – Zika, diseases associated with water contamination due to hurricanes Irma and Maria
  • Nigeria – Lassa Fever, Yellow Fever, Polio
  • Europe – Measles

In addition, a variety of apps are now available from the CDC to help you plan for safe and international travel.

CDC’s TravWell App

Use this app to keep your medication and immunization records and set reminders to take medicines or get vaccine booster doses while you’re traveling. This would be especially important for someone taking medicines like malaria prophylaxis (drugs to prevent malaria). TravWell also lets you take pictures of important documents (passport, visa, etc.) and store them on the app as a backup in case they get lost. This app also has up-to-date recommendations from CDC for international travelers. Many features are available offline, so you don’t need a data connection to access information. The app also includes local emergency service phone numbers for each country.

CDC’s Can I Eat This? App

Use this app to help keep your stomach steady. First, select the country you’re in and the app will ask you a few questions about what you’re preparing to eat or drink (e.g. Does the water have ice in it? Is the meal from a street vendor?). The app will tell you whether it’s likely to be safe to eat. Using this app will help make you more confident about making healthy choices abroad so you won’t spend your international trip in the bathroom. Another advantage of this app is that a data connection is not needed for access.

If you are traveling overseas, plan to visit a doctor well in advance of your trip. Infectious disease doctors at The Polyclinic Travel Center specialize in preparing individuals and families for regional and international travel.

Visit the Travel Center at The Polyclinic Madison Center or call 206-860-4447 to schedule an appointment.