What to expect at a Travel Clinic appointment

ADC Travel Clinic counsels patients on itinerary, how to stay well during trips

Travelers can protect themselves from potentially deadly diseases abroad in about one hour. That’s how long it takes to visit ADC’s Travel Clinic for a trip assessment and to receive recommended vaccines.

“Most people don’t even think about coming to the Travel Clinic, but international travel is not like going to Dallas or Houston — there are totally different ‘bugs’ and diseases there,” said Tenea Harvey, RN with ADC’s Travel Clinic. “It’s important to come and see what’s endemic there. It’s important to keep yourself safe, health-wise.”

Harvey says a nurse will find out details about the traveler’s health history, itinerary and what the trip is for, so they can make recommendations.

“We talk about where you are going and what you are going to be doing. Is it mission work? Is it business travel? Is it a vacation?” Harvey said.

Many times, the Travel Clinic will recommend vaccines against diseases endemic to the traveler’s destination, including:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Rabies
  • Yellow Fever

They may also recommend vaccines given commonly in the US, including tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella, chicken pox and pneumonia. The recommendations depend on what the traveler will be doing as well as where they are going.

Harvey says the vaccines are just recommendations, so travelers should not feel pressured to take any vaccines they do not want. But she emphasized that the vaccines they recommend will help keep travelers safe from disease.

Travel Clinic nurses will also let travelers know if they will be in an area with malaria and advise them on how best to prevent the disease (there is no malaria vaccine). Prevention methods include using insect repellent or taking malaria prevention medications.

The nurses will also advise travelers on how to eat safely and what foods or drink to avoid that could potentially be contaminated.

Harvey said the appointment takes about an hour for one person. It’s ideal to make an appointment at least a month before a trip in order for any vaccines to fully take effect.

But Travel Clinic is not just for international travelers. Harvey says the Travel Clinic has the travel vaccines most doctor’s offices don’t carry, but they also offer routine vaccinations, including shingles.

They will provide school vaccines, flu shots and tuberculosis tests.

“Any kind of vaccine that you need, we can do it,” Harvey said.