International travelers should plan ahead

April 1, 2002

Short jaunts across the globe may pose a higher risk to travelersâ?? health than six-month stays in a foreign country, according to a travel medicine study. Researchers at UNT Health Science Center found that duration of international travel was an important factor in identifying the most common users of travel medicine services.

Their findings suggest that short-term travelers, those who spend six days or less outside the United States, are less likely to visit a travel medicine clinic before their trips. Those who take these short trips may also be the most frequent travelers, including business people, entertainers, politicians, tourists and flight crews. These travelers often do not visit a clinic for pretravel counseling and health care, or when they do visit a travel clinic, they donâ??t allow enough time before departure for optimal care.

â??Short-term travelers may not have adequate lead time to receive optimal counseling and health care prior to their trip,â? said John C. Licciardone, DO, professor of family medicine and director of the International Travel Medicine Clinic. â??A frequent short-term traveler may face even greater risks by not taking appropriate steps to prevent disease and protect their health while abroad.â?

The study included 1,078 patients who visited the International Travel Medicine Clinic at the health science center from May 1990 through June 1994.

The International Travel Medicine Clinic stocks a full line of vaccines for international travel and is a State of Texas-approved Yellow Fever Vaccination Center. In addition to providing basic travel medicine services, such as pre-travel counseling, vaccines and prescriptions, the clinic also offers laboratory testing, visa and work permit physicals, travel medicine seminars, and on-site corporate travel medicine services. For more

information about clinic services, call 817-735-2608 or visit the website at www.hsc.unt.edu/itmc.

The study was originally published in the July/August 2001 issue of the Journal of Travel Medicine.

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