Structured pretravel advice should be provided to patients
(HealthDay)—Structured advice should be provided to individuals planning to travel internationally, according to a review article published in the July 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Noting that although 22 to 64 percent of travelers report some illness, 20 to 80 percent of travelers do not seek pretravel health consultation, David O. Freedman, M.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues discuss the importance of pretravel health advice.
The researchers note that individuals who are planning to travel often consult their health care providers for information about preventive interventions. By following specific protocols, nonspecialists can provide information and care to healthy adults travelling to common destinations. For persons who are planning high-risk or adventure travel, those who are immunocompromised or have underlying chronic disease, those who are planning to live abroad for a lengthy period, and for women who are pregnant or plan to get pregnant and children, advice from a specialist could be beneficial. The pretravel consultation should follow a structured approach, including an individualized risk assessment, vaccinations, and consideration of specific illnesses such as malaria, arthropod-borne diseases, traveler's diarrhea, altitude illness, and thrombosis.
"No traveler should leave the consultation without understanding the importance of seeking expert medical advice immediately if fever develops after the return home," the authors write.
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