Know Before You Go: Travel Tips From Excellent Caring Medical Clinic
Ah, travel. Whether around the corner or across the globe, it’s one of the few things that are both exciting and educational, stressful and relaxing. But before you head out on your next big adventure, take a minute to chat with your personal healthcare team. They’ll keep you up-to-date with immunizations, vaccinations, medication, and overall wellness at home and abroad.
Galina Dixon, ARNP, of Excellent Caring Medical Clinic, is no stranger to travel. After moving to the United States from Russia in 1998, she settled in—and continuously explores—the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. From her clinics in Kent and Northgate, she provides skilled insight, treatment, and preventative care for patients from all walks of life.
Americans love going places. The U.S. Travel Association reports that in the early summer of 2018, “travel to and within the U.S. grew 4 percent year-over-year…marking the industry’s 102nd straight month of overall expansion. Most notable…is the strength of domestic business and leisure travel, buoyed by near-historic highs in consumer confidence and growth in forward-looking bookings and searches.”
Dixon recommends discussing any upcoming travel with your medical provider, especially such issues like immunization requirements and status, food and drink to avoid, and even international travel insurance.
Regarding shots and immunizations—admittedly no-one’s favorite activity—Dixon reminds patients that “these vaccines are safe and effective. Travel immunizations could protect you from serious illnesses when you visiting certain areas of the world. Meet your health provider 4 to 6 weeks before your trip for planning and getting your vaccination.”
Find a complete list of required vaccines, organized by destination country, on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
Domestic or international, for business or pleasure, one of the best parts of travel is the food. New restaurants, flavors, spices, techniques, smells, tastes, and traditions are immersive and addicting. But nothing can spoil your adventure as quickly and thoroughly as getting sick.
The CDC notes that “each year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. [And] Travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is the most predictable travel-related illness. Attack rates range from 30% to 70% of travelers, depending on the destination and season of travel.”
When traveling, Dixon suggests avoiding “food from street vendors; food that served at room temperature; raw or soft cooked meat, fish, and eggs; unwashed and unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables; and unpasteurized dairy products.”
Instead choose “food that is cooked and served hot, food from sealed packages, hard cooked eggs, fruits and vegetables you washed in safe water or peeled yourself, and pasteurized dairy products.” If you’re thirsty, avoid “tap or well water and fountain drinks” choosing instead “bottled or canned and hot drinks.”
Last on the list of ‘practical but not terribly glamorous’ trip-planning is travel insurance. This is more than just an unnecessary extra expense, it can save time, money, and maybe even your life in the long run.
“There are many types of travel coverage: for family, for solo travelers, thrill-seekers, and long trip travelers,” says Dixon. “The best travel insurance should cover emergency medical care, medical evacuation and repatriation, trip cancellation or interruption, baggage and personal item loss and delay, and 24/7 worldwide assistance.”
The federal government’s Travel.State.Gov explains that “travel insurance insures your financial investment in your trip. Typically it covers such things as the cost of lost baggage and canceled flights, but it may or may not cover costs of medical attention you may need while abroad. Travel medical insurance covers costs of medical attention you may need while abroad.”
They advise traveling Americans to “learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas…Although some health insurance companies pay ‘customary and reasonable’ hospital costs abroad, very few pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. Medical evacuation can cost more than $50,000, depending on your location and medical condition.”
With this in mind, Consumer Reports encourages travelers to consider their policy based on choices, price, whether the policy offers a waiver for a pre-existing medical condition, whether the policy provides healthcare coverage, the likelihood you might need medical evacuation, and whether the policy offers coverage you don’t need.
Packing, planning, and preparing for your trip can sometimes take longer than the actual trip itself. But as the saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ If spending a few minutes with Galina Dixon and your dedicated healthcare team can keep your explorations healthy and happy, that’s prep-work well worth undertaking.
Schedule your visit now by calling 206-399-1434. Read more on their Facebook page or at ExcellentCaringNW.com.