FIGHT BACK : TRAVEL MEDICINE FINALLY HAS ARRIVED.Byline: David Horowitz
Passport, tickets, traveler's checks, itinerary - all the bits and pieces of your dream vacation are finally coming together. But have you talked to your doctor about your trip? Better yet, if you're going overseas, you may want to see a specialist in travel medicine.
There are now about 500 physicians in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. and Canada who specialize in travel medicine, either as their primary or secondary practice. These doctors are familiar with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of exotic diseases that most American doctors will never encounter (and might not recognize if they did).
Depending on where you're going, a travel specialist can tell you how to avoid infectious or parasitic diseases common to that area of the world, provide immunization immunization: see immunity; vaccination. and even make up an emergency medication kit in case you become ill somewhere far from medical help.
Since there is no board certification board certification
The process by which a person is tested and approved to practice in a specialty field, especially medicine, after successfully completing the requirements of a board of specialists in that field. for travel medicine, any physician can claim to be an expert. But choosing a qualified specialist is not entirely a matter of guesswork. A real expert should devote at least 20 percent of his or her practice to travel medicine. Affiliation with a university teaching hospital is a good sign. So is membership in either the International Society of Travel Medicine or the American Society of Tropical Medicine tropical medicine, study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of certain diseases prevalent in the tropics. The warmth and humidity of the tropics and the often unsanitary conditions under which so many people in those areas live contribute to the development and and Hygiene. These organizations are now developing standards of practice and a certification examination for physicians specializing in travel medicine.
It's always risky trying to put a fair price on medical services, but most travel doctors' fees are in line with general practice for their area. The average price for a consultation is about $65. Inoculations and medications are usually extra. For comparison purposes, find out what your own doctor or public-health clinic charges for routine gamma globulin gamma globulin, a group of globulin proteins in human blood plasma, including most antibodies. These antibody substances are produced as a protective reaction of the body's immune system to the invasion of disease-producing organisms (see immunity). , typhoid typhoid
or typhoid fever
Acute infectious disease resembling typhus (and distinguished from it only in the 19th century). Salmonella typhi, usually ingested in food or water, multiplies in the intestinal wall and then enters the bloodstream, causing and tetanus shots. Compare that will the specialist's fees for the same injections. If they're way out of line, then you may have been overcharged.
Here are some sources for more information or referrals to qualified travel physicians:
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (information and referrals): (716) 754-4883
American Academy The American Academy in Berlin is a non-partisan academic institution in Berlin. It was founded in September 1994 by a group of prominent Americans and Germans, among them Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Richard von Weizsäcker, Fritz Stern and Otto Graf Lambsdorff and opened in of Allergy and Immunology (information and referrals): (800) 822-2762
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agency of the U.S. Public Health Service since 1973, with headquarters in Atlanta; it was established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center. (travel and health warnings): (404) 332-4559
U.S. State Department Travelers' Hotline (health and safety advisories): (202) 647-5225
If you have any kind of special medical condition, from diabetes to allergies, you may also want to sign up with Medic Alert. You don't have to have a life-threatening illness to wear one of those alert bracelets or pendants. Anyone can get one for a $35 application fee and $15 yearly renewal. These tags and bracelets are recognized almost everywhere and give physicians anywhere in the world immediate access to your medical records, which can be critical if you are unconscious and cannot answer such questions yourself.
For more information, call Medic Alert at (800) 825-3785.
David Horowitz's column appears on Saturdays.
MEMO: David Horowitz's column appears on Saturdays.