Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What countries warrant a pre-travel checkup?"
I will be traveling around the Caribbean extensively this summer. Do I need a checkup?
A pre-travel checkup is an important part of staying healthy when you travel to other countries. There are other illnesses, such as dengue, malaria, and amebiasis in countries in the Caribbean that are not typically encountered within America. Some of these are preventable with vaccination, some are preventable with the proper hygiene measures (watching the cleanliness of the water you drink, for example), some are important to recognize since they will require prompt medical care, and some are preventable by taking daily medicines (such as malaria). The US Centers for Disease control publishes a website with up-to-date travel information, which is a good start for any traveler. That said, nothing can replace an in-person pre-travel consultation with a doctor. Your doctor will be able to review your current vaccinations and medications and decide which vaccinations, if any, you need prior to travel as well as which medications you should take daily, and which prescriptions you should take with you. They can also provide specific counseling about the diseases you are likely to encounter and what signs / symptoms you should watch out for. Finally, they can review your overall state of health and decide if it is safe for you to travel.
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