Summer Fun in RecoveryAs we get deeper into summer and your family prepares for your last getaway of the season, it's essential to plan for your family’s health and safety. Especially if you'll be traveling internationally, a pre-travel consultation can play a pivotal role in ensuring that your children stay protected from potential health risks during your vacation. After all, no one likes getting sick on vacation—but with help from the experts at Capital Area Pediatrics, you can keep your family feeling their best during your end-of-summer travel.

What is a Travel Consultation?

A travel consultation is a special doctor's appointment designed to help you and your children stay healthy and safe during your trip. During this kind of appointment, your child’s pediatrician will carefully assess the potential risks associated with the places you plan to visit and offer specific advice on appropriate preventive measures. This might include discussing necessary vaccinations or medications that can protect your child from region-specific health threats.

Additionally, your pediatrician will address any concerns or questions you may have about maintaining good health while traveling, such as food safety, insect bite prevention, and managing common travel-related issues. Overall, a travel consultation ensures that you and your family are well-prepared and informed, allowing you to enjoy a worry-free vacation.

Why Pre-Travel Consultations Are Important

Pre-travel consultations are essential for avoiding vaccine-preventable diseases at your destination and staying well as you go from place to place. For instance, even if your child is up-to-date on their routine vaccinations, which is always recommended before traveling, there may be different recommended vaccines for the area your family will be visiting. Your pediatrician will also be knowledgeable about any health advisories that might apply to your trip, such as areas to avoid due to outbreaks of infectious diseases.

For international travelers, it's especially important to get a pre-travel consultation. Some countries require proof of vaccinations before entry, so make sure you're aware of any requirements and get the necessary immunizations and documentation in advance.
If jet-setting to another country isn't on your itinerary, there are other ways a pre-travel consultation can help. For example, if your child is prone to car sickness, traveler's diarrhea, or other travel health issues, their pediatrician can provide advice on how to prevent or treat them, as well as prescribe or suggest certain travel medications.

If your child has a chronic medical condition or is on any prescription medications, your pediatrician will be able to discuss any potential risks associated with traveling, as well as provide guidance on how to manage your child's condition while away from home. It is commonly advised that you make sure your child has an adequate supply of their medication before you leave and that you research medical facilities that you may need in the area you're traveling to.

Preparing for Your Pre-Travel Consultation

At Capital Area Pediatrics, we understand how busy the end of summer can be for families. To make your pre-travel consultation as smooth and efficient as possible, it's helpful to come prepared and to come early. We recommend scheduling your appointment at least four weeks before your departure date. Then, when getting ready for your appointment, you'll want to gather any necessary information about your itinerary, as well as any information about your family's health history. 

Your pediatrician will want to know where you're traveling, how long you'll be there, and what kind of activities are planned for the trip. This will help them assess any potential health risks and identify the right vaccines or medications your family may need to stay safe. You can also prepare for this conversation by using the CDC’s Traveler’s Health tool(opens in a new tab) to research vaccines, diseases, and tips that may be relevant to your trip.

Additionally, your pediatrician will want to know about any chronic conditions your child may have, including any allergies. This information, along with the latest travel health updates from the CDC and WHO, will help your doctor determine what health measures you and your child may need to take before traveling.

Vaccinations for International Travel

Travel vaccines are an integral part of travel medicine and can help your family prevent illness and stay healthy during your trip. Some of the most common travel vaccines we offer at Capital Area Pediatrics include:

  • Typhoid Vaccination (Oral & Injectable, subject to availability): Typhoid fever, a bacterial infection, spreads through contaminated food and water or close contact with an infected person. If your family plans to visit a region where typhoid fever is prevalent, ensure that you complete the vaccinations at least one to two weeks before your departure date, depending on the vaccine type. This allows the vaccine enough time to become effective. Be aware that typhoid vaccines lose their effectiveness over time, so if your child was vaccinated previously, consult your doctor to determine if a booster is necessary.
  • Malaria Vaccine: Malaria, a potentially fatal disease, is transmitted through mosquito bites. If you're visiting a region with high malaria prevalence, discuss with your doctor the use of antimalarial drugs before, during, and after your trip to prevent illness.
  • MMR Vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella): Due to an outbreak of measles in many countries worldwide, it is important that all travelers are up-to-date on their MMR vaccinations. Typically this vaccine is given to children 1 and older, but in the case of international travel, it can be given to children as young as 6 months old.
  • Hepatitis A Vaccine: Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food and water, and there's no treatment for it aside from rest and fluids.

As your departure date draws near, take the time to prioritize your health and safety with a pre-travel consultation. At Capital Area Pediatrics, our team is dedicated to providing your child with tailored advice and care to ensure their health and wellness, no matter where in the world they go. We look forward to helping you and your family have a safe, healthy, and memorable end-of-summer vacation!

From travel consults to well-child visits, the team at Capital Area Pediatrics is here to help your family stay healthy all year long. Request an appointment online, or find a location near you today.