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"Should I have a pre-travel consultation if I am traveling to Africa?"


I will mostly be in Nigeria but I may visit other countries. Is a consultation suggested?


A pre-travel consultation is an essential part of routine health care for healthy Americans, and is especially important if traveling to countries such as Nigeria, for three reasons. First, your doctor will be aware of diseases, such as malaria, which do not exist in America but do exist abroad. They will counsel you on preventive measures which can include taking daily medication as well as counseling around clean water and food habits.

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Second, your doctor will review your current vaccinations and make sure that you have all the necessary vaccinations prior to travel. Although the US has an excellent vaccination program for children, there are diseases such as certain types of hepatitis, typhoid and yellow fever which require vaccination as an adult prior to travel to certain countries (many African nations will deny you entry into their country without a yellow fever vaccination!). Finally, your doctor can take your current health conditions and medications into consideration and give you specific advice about safe travel, such as tips to prevent blood clots during long plane journeys. Travel abroad is wonderfully rewarding, but a pre-travel consultation is an important part of making sure it is a safe and healthy experience.

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