Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I schedule a follow-up visit with my doctor after visiting a developing country?"
I made an appointment with my doctor and received my vaccinations before leaving. Now that I?m home, should I make another appointment to make sure my health is still in good condition?
Absolutely. You definitely took the right first step in being aware of the health implications of traveling abroad and seeing your doctor to get any required vaccinations. However, now that you are home, you should definitely see your primary care physician to have a check up. Fortunately many serious diseases can be prevented by vaccinations or preventative medication, but unfortunately there are still many diseases for which no vaccines are available to prevent. You should visit a primary care physician as soon as possible once you return from traveling abroad, especially to a developing nation or any place with endemic infectious diseases. Your doctor will perform a complete history, physical examination, and possibly simple diagnostic tests such as blood tests. It is extremely important to visit a physician that you feel comfortable with, because he or she is likely to ask you a number of questions in order to determine your risk for contracting certain diseases while traveling overseas. Some important questions your doctor is likely to ask may concern sexual activity, drug use, or other high-risk behavior. These are personal matters that will be treated as part of your confidential health information, however they are understandably difficult to talk about, which makes seeing a physician you trust extremely important. Any family doctor or other general practitioner will be very comfortable providing you the care you need and, once you get a clean bill of health, you can head home to enjoy all the memories, pictures, or souvenirs of your trip with your mind at ease!
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