Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday: 9 am to 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am to noon
Closed Sundays and holidays

Please follow & like us!
Follow by Email
RSS Feed
Subscribe by email
Get new posts by email:

Posts Tagged ‘Travelers’ Health’

Travel Healthy. By Ken Hecht, Our January Student Pharmacist, Who Will Soon Be Traveling on to Other Pharmacy Rotations.

There are numerous ways your local pharmacy can help you–probably some ways you’ve never even considered.

Our pharmacists and interns have a wealth of knowledge that we want to share. Typically, we answer questions about prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, insurance concerns, and immunizations – by the way, it is not too late to stop in and get your annual flu vaccination!

However, I wanted to share a topic with you where we can help answer questions and provide guidance that you might not have thought about—preparing for International travel. Having recently had the opportunity to travel outside the country, I thought I would discuss how I used my pharmacy and healthcare resources to help prepare for my vacation.

When traveling, with regard to medications, you want to make sure you will have enough of both prescription and over-the-counter medicine for the duration of your trip. In addition, depending on what part of the world you are traveling to, checking your vaccination status is important to help ensure that you stay healthy throughout your travels.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a spectacular website devoted to travel health information (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel). While this information can be essential, you may want the help of a healthcare provider, such as your pharmacist, to aid you in making sense of the vast amount of information provided.

First, the CDC recommends that you begin preparations 4 to 6 weeks in advance of traveling. This allows ample time to plan a visit with your healthcare providers to get any prescriptions, vaccinations, or vacation overrides for insurance plans, as well as take care of other logistics prior to departure.

On the CDC travel site, there is a “For Travelers” section. Here you can indicate your destination and even some additional information about yourself, such as if you are traveling with children, any chronic diseases you have, whether you will be aboard a cruise ship, if the trip is an extended stay/study aboard, if you are immune compromised or pregnant, if the trip is for mission/disaster relief, and if you are visiting friends or family.

For example, if I were traveling to Haiti and checked off that I were on a mission/disaster relief trip, the following information would be provided under “Vaccines and Medicines”:

All Travelers: Routine vaccinations (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/routine)

Most Travelers: Hepatitis A vaccine, anti-malarial medication, Typhoid vaccine

Some Travelers: Hepatitis B, Rabies, Yellow fever vaccinations

With this information in hand, I can now look and see if there are any gaps in my vaccination history or any preventative medications I would need prior to my trip.

In this example, if I were up-to-date on my vaccinations, I would only need prescriptions for anti-malarial medications and a Typhoid vaccination (Fun Fact: for those of you who have a fear of needles – the Typhoid vaccination has a capsule formulation that can be taken orally and your local pharmacy can order).

Since I would need prescriptions from my physician, I would probably need to schedule a doctor’s appointment. This is why the CDC recommends preparing 4 to 6 weeks ahead of a trip. It gives you time to make appointments and allow your body to build up antibodies if you do receive a vaccination.

The information continues with the following sections:

Stay Healthy and Safe” – highlights safe behaviors while traveling.

Travel Health Notice” – lists pertinent health warnings.

After Your Trip” – provides suggestions on managing illness after your trip and when to see a doctor.

Healthy Travel Packing List” – provides a comprehensive list of prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as medical supplies that might be helpful to have while traveling. Furthermore, it is this section where your pharmacist will be able to help you with your medication checklist to ensure you travel safely.

The information shared in this example is only a fraction of the information available on the CDC website. The CDC travel site contains more on travel and vaccination and I recommend, whether you are preparing for a trip to a foreign country or are simply interested in a certain part of the world, that you take a closer look at the website. If you have any questions about travel and how your pharmacy can help – please do not hesitate to ask!

With the help of resources such as the CDC Travel website and my local pharmacy, my wife and I were able to enjoy safe travels on our honeymoon cruise in December 2013.

I wanted to share a couple of photos from that trip. First, is the two of us in front of our ship – Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas – in Labadee, Haiti. Second, is a pharmacy storefront in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Happy, healthy travels!