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Travel Immunizations and Wellness Preparation

We are pleased to offer medical consultations for patients planning to travel internationally. During your consultation, our staff will review the necessary interventions prior to your travel, as well as general health and safety guidelines pertinent to each country you are planning to visit. Appropriate vaccinations and medication prescriptions are generally provided at the time of your consultation.

Payment for travel immunization services is required at the time of your visit. Be aware that most insurance plans do not cover the cost of travel immunizations or the travel consultation fee.

Read on for some general Traveler’s Advice on common travel-related ailments.

Advice for Travelers
High Altitudes

Altitude sickness can be caused by rapid ascent to altitudes over 9000 feet. Symptoms include headaches, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping, but can lead to more severe issues. Things to do:
  • Do a gradual ascent. If you are mountain climbing or hiking, take a 1 to 2 day break at an appropriate altitude during your ascent
  • Drink extra fluids
  • Do not overexert yourself
  • Avoid sedatives, codeine and alcohol
  • Under specific conditions, there are medications that can be considered. Talk to your health-care provider about this

Motion Sickness

Many travelers experience motion sickness when traveling by airplane, boat or automobile. This may be avoided simply by choosing your seat carefully. There are also effective medications available.

Things to do:

  • In a car, the driver’s seat or front window seat is the best place to sit
  • On a bus, sit near the front window
  • On a plane, sit over the wings or wheels (where it’s more stable)
  • On a boat, get a mid-ship cabin close to the waterline

Jet Lag

Jet lag is a common complaint of travelers who travel across more than 3 time zones. Your body runs on an internal biological clock, and it takes time to adjust to new time zones. Symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and decreased appetite.

Things to do:

  • Break up your trip if possible by 1 day of rest for every 6 time zones crossed
  • Avoid caffeine, excessive alcohol and heavy meals
  • Schedule important meetings, etc. at least 24 hours after arrival
  • Alter your sleep habits 1 week prior to departure if possible

Travelers Diarrhea

Most traveler’s diarrhea does not need medical attention and is usually a self-limiting illness that can last several days. Taking a daily antibiotic to prevent diarrhea is NOT generally recommended, except for individuals with certain medical risks. However, your provider may give you a prescription for an antibiotic to use in case certain symptoms develop.

Things to do:

  • Avoid raw vegetables and fruit that you do not peel yourself. Avoid non-pasteurized dairy products, cooked foods not served hot, and tap water (including ice).
  • If you do develop mild diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids, take an over-the-counter medication such as Imodium, initially 4 mg and then 2 mg after each loose stool, maximum of 16 mg per day for adults. Imodium should not be used if a fever or bloody diarrhea are present
  • If you develop a fever or bloody stools, consult your health-care provider, or other local health care clinic if still abroad
  • If diarrhea is moderate to severe and persistent, an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, norfloxacin or ofloxacin may be needed, especially if associated with fever or bloody diarrhea

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections, such as cold symptoms or bronchitis, are the most common traveler’s disease other than gastro-intestinal (GI) illness.

Things to do:

  • Travelers should wash their hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Eat only poultry products that are well cooked
  • In countries with documented outbreaks of avian influenza, avoid live poultry markets, farms, and other contact with sick or dead poultry, and surfaces that may be contaminated by poultry feces
  • Avoid visiting live animal markets in China
  • Seek medical attention if you develop difficulties with breathing, a persistent cough, or cough associated with a fever

Venous Thromboembolism (Blood Clot)

Remaining still for long periods of time (especially with air travel) increases the risk of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a blood clot. Risk factors for DVT are a past history or family history of DVT, obesity, malignancy, or known clotting disorder. Symptoms may include leg swelling on only one side, or calf pain/redness.

Things to do:

  • Walk around every 1-2 hours while on an airplane
  • Exercise while sitting – flex and extend ankles and knees.
  • Drink extra fluids
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Wear compression stockings

Insect Precautions

Travel to some areas, especially tropical climates, increases your risks of contact with a variety of insects capable of transmitting infectious diseases. The most well-known disease carriers are mosquitoes, which can transmit a variety of diseases.

Things to do:

  • Apply an insecticide in liquid or spray form, permethrin (Duranon, Permanone, etc.) on clothing, tents, sleeping bags, etc. for protection
  • Use DEET on exposed skin in combination with the permethrin for increased protection. Reapply DEET after swimming or excessive sweating
  • Use permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets while sleeping in rooms that are not screened or air-conditioned
  • Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn to reduce the risk of malaria and Japanese encephalitis