Travel medicine is a rapidly growing branch of medical practice designed to aid the international traveler in best practices to stay healthy, be protected from preventable diseases, and increase safety from those diseases that cannot be prevented by vaccinations. The UN World Travel Organization reports that since 2010 there has been at lease a 4% increase in international arrivals each year, and in 2017 a 7% increase, to 1.2 billion travelers! As the CDC puts it, “The importance of protecting the health of individual travelers as well as safeguarding the health of the communities to which they return, cannot be overstated” (CDC Yellow Book, 2018, p.1)
There is a wealth of information to be found on the internet regarding recommended vaccinations, malaria prevention, traveler’s diarrhea prevention, etc., but this does not cover the individual differences in travelers’ health. The risks vary depending on the type of activities, personal immunity and medical history, and medications being taken, as well as the ever-changing disease risks due to new diseases emerging and old ones becoming resistant to treatment.
A good travel clinician will be familiar with international guidelines for travel health, knowledgeable on anticipated health risks associated with their itinerary, and be able to provide immunizations for vaccine preventable diseases and medications for prophylaxis and self-treatment. A thoughtful risk assessment and plan for safety and prevention of disease requires more than being able to look at the CDC website for information. Experience in travel, ability to listen and communicate with individuals, groups, and families as well as knowledge of best practices in disease prevention are embedded in the working philosophy of Venture Travel Health and Wellness.