Put the PacMed Travel Clinic on Your Itinerary
If you travel outside North America for business, school or pleasure, you’ll want to be in good health when you go—and when you return. To be sure, make the PacMed Travel Clinic your first vacation stop.
Dr. Gilmore can tell you whether it’s safe to drink the water. As the PacMed travel doctor, Dr. Ari Gilmore is a fount of advice on health conditions in exotic places. A Family Medicine practitioner at the Pacific Medical Center Beacon Hill clinic most days, Dr. Gilmore runs the PacMed Travel Clinic Monday - Fridays by special appointment. He meets with individuals, couples and families to review their itineraries and health records so they can take the proper precautions against trip-ruining infections and diseases.
Whether you’re an international backpacker or a relatively inexperienced traveler, the clinic can prepare you for a healthy trip. Remember to schedule your visit for at least one month before your departure.
To make your appointment, call 206.621.4504.
Where is everyone going?! And what health concerns might await them?
Many of us like to explore the world beyond our borders. In fact, nearly 18 million U.S. citizens toured a foreign land this past January–April! The most popular destinations? Europe and the Caribbean (with 2.7 million and 2.2 million travelers, respectively) top the list, followed by Asia and Central America. Another 2.1 million flew to our southern neighbor, Mexico.
U.S. and Canadian residents traveling to other parts of the world—even to their native countries—often require special vaccines, such as those for yellow fever or typhoid. People heading to tropical or developing regions might also be prescribed medications such as antimalarial or antidiarrheal pills to bring with them.
Some regions have specific health concerns.
Different locations can present surprising or unusual health challenges. Here’s a brief sampling—but remember that with vaccines and other treatments, you can avoid many of these:
- Caribbean: malaria, dengue, yellow fever, as well as increased risk for traveler’s diarrhea and food-borne diseases
- China: rabies, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria in some rural areas
- India: hepatitis A, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and malaria
- Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Middle East: Hepatitis A
Do you have a chronic illness?
You may want to consult the Travel Clinic in advance of your trip. Some locations may pose challenges for you. For example, many cities have heavy air pollution that can affect people with respiratory conditions. Mexico City or Beijing might leap to mind—but did you think of the industrial cities in the Czech Republic?
Dr. Gilmore can give you medical guidance regarding your destination. Other considerations for certain chronic conditions might be an extreme altitude, high mold counts, a new cuisine and the availability of kidney dialysis.
It’s important that you start your adventure in the best possible health, with your chronic condition stabilized. Make sure to consult with your primary care doctor or specialist several weeks before you leave on your trip. Also be sure to pack medicines in their original containers, and carry them with you on any plane or train, rather than in checked luggage.
Everyone can take health-preparedness steps!
The goal of the PacMed Travel Clinic is to reduce risk. Here are some steps you can take to avoid illness and injury when you travel:
- Seek—and follow!—health care advice. Visit the Travel Clinic or your doctor 4–6 weeks before your trip.
- Get recommended vaccines well in advance. Many need time to take effect.
- Prepare a health kit for your trip. The Travel Clinic can help you with this. A kit might include prescriptions drugs and photocopies of your prescriptions; destination-specific medicines, such as antimalarial pills; and over-the-counter remedies for pain/fever, intestinal distress, cold/flu; and motion sickness.
- Follow the same safety precautions you would at home! It’s easy to be caught up in the excitement of a different culture. But guarding your physical safety is a smart choice anywhere.
- Talk with your doctor about preparing for new stresses. If you are anxious about air travel, culture shock or the general stress of travel, your doctor may be able to help.
- Finally, if you’re sick, stay home. Noting ruins a trip like feeling poorly!
Please note that the Travel Clinic charges patients directly for services. Some insurance providers will pay for travel vaccines and medications.
Dr. Ari Gilmore is a board certified family medicine physician who practices at the Pacific Medical Centers Beacon Hill clinic location. Dr. Gilmore cares for people of all ages, from newborn babies and children to adolescents and adults. He received his medical degree from the University of Washington and he did his residency training at Valley Medical Center in Renton. You can visit his web page to learn more about Dr. Gilmore and to view his physician profile video and his King 5 and KOMO 4 News interviews. You may also make an appointment with Dr. Gilmore by calling 206.621.4504.