Why you should visit a doctor before you travel, and what you should talk to them about.

Whether it is for work or play it is now common for families with babies and young children to travel overseas together.  A consultation with a doctor prior to your trip is arguably the most essential component of your preparation.  You should ensure that this occurs at lease six weeks prior to your travel to allow time for any vaccinations you may need.  Ideally you should book your appointment at a clinic which advertises itself as a travel medicine clinic.  Booking your appointment with a general practitioner who has a special interest in travel medicine but works at a mainstream practice is equally acceptable.  The rationale for seeking a doctor with expertise in travel medicine is that advice may be complex, and even general doctors differ in their experience, interests and skills.  You may of course prefer to see your regular doctor, and there may be benefits to seeing someone who knows you and your children’s medical histories, particularly if you have special medical issues.  In the event that a consultation with a doctor specifically interested in travel medicine is not practicable, or you prefer to see your regular doctor, the following checklist is a helpful tool to ensure all of your bases are covered.  Doctor’s will not mind you if you bring in this checklist – in fact many will appreciate the order and prompts it brings to the consultation.  Always book a long appointment with the doctor for your pre-travel medical visit.  Many general practices book patients 15 minutes apart.  A good pre-travel medical visit will take about half an hour, depending on your destination.  Finally, ensure that the medical advice you are given is personalized to your travel itinerary.  If you are visiting multiple locations – take your itinerary in with you – and think about the type of accommodation you will be staying in.  Advice regarding mosquito spread infection may differ for example if you are staying in screened, air conditioned accommodation versus accommodation which is unscreened.  Calling ahead to relatives or hotels prior to the pre-travel visit will assist your doctor in advising you best for your own situation.


Pre-travel medical visit checklist


Ensure you receive advise regarding

  • Any pre-travel recommended vaccinations.  Possible vaccines include those immunizing against:  hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever.
  • The risk of specific mosquito spread disease particularly dengue and malaria.  Check whether you need prescriptions for anti-malarial tablets.
  • Diarrhoeal diseases and how to reduce the risk of being infected.  You may warrant a prescription for antibiotics to take with you in your medical kit.
  • Only prescribed medications and vaccinations which are safe when breastfeeding are given if you are in this category.


© Copyright 2012 Danielle, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bubs on the Move