Traveling abroad? Health professionals share vaccinations and medications to stay healthy – NBC Chicago


Now that post-pandemic travel is on the rise, the Northwest Medical Travel Clinic is also busy.

“This week has been honeymoon week and it’s only Tuesday,” said Helen Bedros, a registered nurse at the clinic. “A lot of honeymooners going to South Africa and some of the surrounding countries, Asia. When it opened, oh my god, the floodgates opened.

From honeymooners, business travelers and families taking international vacations, the clinic staff is working to prepare travelers. They cater to families with children aged 6 and up.

“I think it’s really important to think ahead about your trip and what you can do to prevent this kind of illness is the main thing we want to do here,” said Moira Nguyen, a nurse practitioner at the clinic.

“Two people going to Peru are going to need completely different things. So the activities you’re doing, where you’re going, your medical history, any medications you’re taking — all of those things let us know what we can offer you,” Bedros said.

Some areas do not require a visit.

“Europe in general is pretty, you know, ‘go ahead and enjoy your trip’ without visiting us,” Nguyen said.

But what you want in Asia may be different from what you want in Africa.

“We give meningitis, yellow fever, prenatal and postpartum rabies, Japanese encephalitis, general vaccinations,” Bedros said.

It’s not just about vaccines. You may also have many prescription medications that dictate where you go and what activities you engage in.

“We usually give antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea; But so be it. We hope that people will never use it. We also talk about altitude sickness medications, motion sickness, certain things that need to be exposed to fresh water,” Bedros said.

Anti-malarial pills are also common.

When it comes to vaccines, timing is key. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinations four to six weeks before departure if possible.

“We generally say at least four weeks. Most vaccines, depending on if it’s just one dose, take at least 10 to 14 days to be effective,” Nguyen said.

But there are some two-dose vaccines, so health experts recommend planning ahead for a safe and healthy trip.

For more information, you can contact the Northwest Medical Travel Clinic at (312) 926-3155.


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