A pre-travel consultation is a medical appointment scheduled before a person departs for a trip. This is highly beneficial for those who are scheduled to go abroad for a vacation, a business trip, or for other travel reasons. During the consultation, the patient will undergo a health assessment to check whether he might be in need of additional medical care or immunization prior to departure, taking into consideration the potential health hazards he might be exposed to during his trip.
Anyone who is going to travel outside of his home country should undergo a pre-travel health assessment as a preventative measure. This visit informs patients of what preparations they need to undertake prior to their trip to ensure their health and safety despite the risks they might be exposed to. Some examples are health risks due to:
Country-specific risks are those that may be picked up in their destination, such as foodborne, waterborne, bloodborne, and respiratory diseases. Many of these can be easily prevented with the appropriate vaccine/immunization and advice on how the diseases are commonly transmitted. Some examples of country-specific health risks include:
Additional precautions are also necessary for:
The goals or expected results of the consultation include:
General practitioners and family doctors are best able to provide medical services for frequent travelers. Children who are traveling may also be brought to a pediatrician for assessment.
The effectiveness of the consultation in protecting the traveler will depend on how much information is conveyed during the appointment. Thus, it is important to inform the consulting physician regarding:
During the consultation, the doctor will discuss the following:
If necessary, the doctor may administer vaccines as well as provide prescriptions.
The results of a pre-travel consultation ultimately depend on the effectiveness of the communication between the patient and the doctor, on the knowledge and expertise of the physician regarding disease epidemiology, and on the patient’s own determination to heed medical advice and preserve his health during his trip.
Arguin P. Approach to the patient before and after travel. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 294.
Basnyat B, Ericsson CD. Travel medicine. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2011:chap 84.
Fairley JK, John CC. Health advice for children traveling internationally. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, et al, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 168.