Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I have a pre-travel checkup if I'm going to Europe?"
Most of the countries are first world but I want to be safe.
A pre-travel consultation is an important part of health care, and I would recommend that you visit your primary care doctor or a travel clinic prior to traveling. Although most areas of Europe are not unlike the United States in the types and prevalence of disease, this varies by area. There are unique diseases in Europe (for example, the United Kingdom had an outbreak of variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease or "mad cow disease," and Spain has had a recent outbreak of measles), and the water supply is not always as reliable as that which we use in this country. Additionally, certain vaccines may not be routine for people who are unlikely to leave the United States, whereas they can be recommended or even necessary (many countries require the Yellow Fever vaccination before they will grant entry at their border) prior to travel. A good resource for health information is the CDC website, where you can find specific recommendations related to the countries you plan to visit. Only an in-person consultation with your primary care doctor, however, can allow for a comprehensive review of the vaccinations you have already received, as well as a review of your current health conditions and the safety of travel.
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