Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I need a pre-travel consultation before visiting Haiti this summer?"
I am up to date on my shots. Is this really a good idea?
A pre-travel consultation is a very important part of routine healthcare for travelers, particularly prior to going to countries like Haiti. Haiti has a number of diseases not present in the United States, including but not limited to current outbreaks of cholera, which can be life-threatening, measles, and malaria. There are a number of vaccines which are recommended prior to travel to Haiti which are not part of the routine childhood vaccinations, including Hepatitis A (which is recommended for children now but was not part of the schedule when most adults were having their vaccines) and typhoid, a louse-born disease still present in Haiti. Depending on where within Haiti you plan on traveling, it may be indicated to take daily medications to prevent infection with malaria, which can be prescribed at a pre-travel consultation visit. Your physician can review your vaccine status to insure that there are no adult vaccinations you still need to receive. Finally, your physician can give you valuable advice on how to avoid infectious diseases such as cholera and malaria via proper food and water hygiene and the use of anti-mosquito bednets. A good starting resource for any traveler is the Centers for Disease control website, which has information on disease prevalence for every country in the world. This does not replace an in-person consultation where vaccines and medications can be prescribed, and I would strongly suggest any traveler planning on visiting Haiti to seek out a pre-travel consultation with their primary care doctor.
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