The discipline of travel medicine involves specialists in infections, environments, tropical diseases and more to help diagnose illnesses abroad or at home.
Planning an exotic family adventure and concerned about inoculations and preventive strategies if faced with unusual diseases? The new field of travel medicine includes many medical specialties, such as infectious diseases, high altitude physiology, travel-related obstetrics, migration medicine, environmental health, tropical medicine and others.
With more than 500 travel health clinics in the United States alone, parents about to enjoy an international journey must make the best-educated choice they can about which clinic to entrust the preventive healthcare of their children.
For more information about this medical specialty, contact the International Society of Travel Medicine, an organization comprising more than 2,500 members in 75 countries.
To help you make a decision, consult with your family pediatrician for recommendations. There are also some important questions to ask of any prospective travel medicine clinic.
The ISTM recommends you ask a potential health provider:
- • Has this clinic been in operation for at least five years?
- • Is it affiliated with a well-known and reputed hospital?
- • Have the physicians ever practiced medicine or performed research in a remote area?
- • Are they trained in infectious diseases or tropical medicine?
- • Are there any pediatric specialists on staff?
- • Do staff members remain informed of current medical issues by periodically attending seminars offered by the ISTM and the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene?
- • Does the clinic follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization?
- • Is the clinic capable of administering the yellow fever vaccine? (If so, the clinic is most likely reputable, since this inoculation requires licensing).
The staff’s prompt and thorough response should help you feel more comfortable about making this important trip-preparation decision.
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