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Travel Medicine is More Than Required Vaccines

So you are considering travel abroad. After you’ve booked your flight and your accommodations with Bursch Travbel, think about making an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Katherine Helgen, MD, an internal medicine specialist at FamilyHealth Medical Clinic, has a special interest in travel medicine. She recommends a travel appointment for any trips beyond Canada or Western Europe.

For most travelers vaccines are top of mind, but Dr. Helgen says too often a more comprehensive travel counseling session is lost in the rush to get the required  “shots.”  She says it is equally important to address other issues, such as an adequate medication supply or a plan to manage any chronic conditions a patient might have.

Under travel services, the clinic will take care of any forms required by schools, universities, or agencies such as the Peace Corps. You will get a health evaluation to discuss your specific risk for travel, required vaccines will be administered, and prescriptions will be written as needed for malaria prophylaxis and traveler's diarrhea treatment.

“One of the most important discussions will be travel counseling, information about food and water safety, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, infection precautions, and personal safety,” said Dr. Helgen. “Travel medicine is all about preparing the upcoming traveler for a medically safe trip.”

Dr. Helgen’s physician services are provided by Cannon Valley Clinic --- Mayo Health System.