Welcome to HealthSmartVaccines

Monday - Friday 9am to 6pm
   Contact : 703-961-0733

All Posts in Category: General Information

healthsmartvaccines-travel-insurance-travel-vaccines

Medical Care Items to take on Your Trip

Take enough of your everyday prescription medications plus a weeks worth in case of unexpected delays or diversions. Bottles must be properly and professionally labeled with the name of pharmacy, the med, your name and your doctor’s name. Hand carry the doctor’s written prescription which can be beneficial in the case of certain medications which could be confiscated in any country without identification. Especially true with controlled substances. If you require insulin, protect the vaccine potency by properly storing  it. Take enough syringes for your journey, never assume you will be able to buy sterile or even legitimate diabetic supplies overseas. If you have questions about taking injectable medications on a plane, the size containers and contents allowed, contact TSA via their web page www.tsa.gov   Don’t put all of your medication in one place. Split them up so you’ll have some in case a bag is temporarily lost. Pack an extra Epi-pen. Carry other prescription medications from your doctor such as anti-malaria tablets, travelers’ diarrhea antibiotics or altitude meds. Be extremely careful of purchasing medicine overseas. Standard prescription medication in the US may be over the counter in other countries but its difficult to know counterfeit from legitimate. Contents and strength may not be appropriate so its best to carry you own.

Depending on your destination and planned itinerary, you may need to pack a basic medical kit in your checked baggage.  This may include a variety of band-aids, gauze rolls, tape, pair of scissors, tweezers for removing splinters, a few disposable gloves, antiseptic for wound cleaning, “ace”wraps for sprains, saline eye drops, and a thermometer (especially if you travel with children). Over the counter medicines may include those for reducing a fever, pain relief, antacids, anti-diarrheals, stool softeners, motion-sickness medicine, sleep aids, oral re-hydration packets, hand sanitizer, decongestants/antihistamines, foot powder or anti-fungal cream, topical anti-itch preparation with 1% hydrocortisone for bites and stings, swimmers” ear drops, sunburn relief lotion just to name a few. Travel health supplies can be purchases in pharmacies, on-line or customized based on your destination, length of stay, access to medical assistance and plans for adventure! Travel healthy, travel smart!

Read More
healthsmartvaccines-adult-vaccinations-malaria-vaccine

Malaria Prevention

Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes, just as Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever are, and it is considered one of the most severe infectious diseases that travelers could encounter. Likely, most cases of Malaria are preventable! The best methods of prevention are awareness of risk, avoidance of mosquito bits, and chemoprophylaxis (antimalarial medication).

Awareness: Research the area that you will be visiting and determine if there is a risk of contracting malaria. This can be done by visiting the CDCs website or by calling a travel health clinic.

Avoidance: Once you determine that malaria is present in the country you are traveling to then it is time to do some shopping. The best methods of prevention are insect repellents.

– Wear protective clothing (Make sure you cover as must body surface area as possible to reduce exposed skin.)

– Apply insect repellents as directed by the manufacturer (The best insect repellent is one that contains 20%-50% DEET. Other active ingredients that are recommended are Picaridin and Lemon Eucalyptus.).

– Sleep in areas protected by screens and netting. Netting impregnated with a residual insecticide provide the best protection.

Chemoprophylaxis: There are many options when it comes to antimalarial drugs, determining which one will work best for you is dependent on two things: what country you are visiting and your concern with frequency of dosing and potential side effects. The best  way to determine what will work best for you is by contacting a travel health clinic.

If upon return (up to one year after traveling) from your trip you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of illness (example: fever, diarrhea, respiratory illness or rash) please be sure to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. It is important to inform your provider of your recent travels to aid them in determining the cause of your symptoms.

Read More
healthsmartvaccines-adult-vaccinations-hepatitis

Hepatitis: Did you know

There are 5 known types of Hepatitis disease. Most travelers are familiar with Hepatitis A & B, the only 2 which are vaccine-preventable…. but what do we know about the others and can we get them during travel?

Hepatitis C is acquired by blood to blood and body fluid contact with an infected person or instrument such as needles shared by drug users. Travelers who use tattoo/piercing facilities, receive blood transfusions or organ transplants from poorly screened donors, or participate in surgical procedures overseas may be at risk.  Usually there are no symptoms, it is lifelong and can result in death. The baby-boomer generation is most at risk along with anyone who may have received a blood transfusion prior to the 1990′s. A blood test can confirm that a person has acquired Hepatitis C. There is treatment available.

Hepatitis D can only occur if a person already has Hepatitis B. Open wounds, blood and bodily fluid exchange with an infected person can result in acute or chronic Hepatitis D for which there is NO treatment.

Hepatitis E is an uncommon virus in the United States. Water contaminated with feces can be common in Africa, Central America, South America and parts of Asia and the Middle East. Hep E can be extremely serious for pregnant women and there is NO treatment.  Travelers should take care to avoid water from unknown sources. Drinking only bottled water, boiling or use of chlorinated tablets is the only way to avoid Hep E.

Hepatitis A is prevalent all over the world. Prior to the vaccine being available in the 1990′s,  it was a very common illness acquired during travel outside the US.  Mild to severe symptoms can occur following ingestion of food or drink contaminated with feces of an infected person. Never assume that other nations have the same strict food handling standards as we do in the US. Eat well cooked foods, stay away from raw salad and seafood unless sure of the source. Drink bottled water. Heat can destroy the virus, freezing does not!

Hepatitis B  Since the introduction of the vaccine in the early 1990′s, there has been an 82% decrease in reported hepatitis B infections in the US. Remarkable! Globally, about 2 billion have Hep B. Most have chronic infection, are carriers and many have died as Hep B can lead to cirrhosis and death. Travelers are at high risk. There may be NO “standard precautions” in facilities outside the US.  Contact with blood and body fluids during sex, medical procedures using contaminated instruments during medical tourism, dental procedures you didn’t expect or accidents in which you are hospitalized and may possibly face blood transfusion from unknown resources. You cannot tell by looking at someone they carry the Hep B virus, therefore BE PREPARED-GET VACCINATED!

Read More
healthsmartvaccines-adult-vaccinations-travel-insurance

Vaccines REQUIRED or RECOMMENDED?

Disease patterns around the globe determine the recommendation of vaccination prior to international travel. For more than 60 years the World Health Organization has made its health information available to all countries with the goal of identifying, preventing and/or containing vaccine preventable diseases. Many diseases that have been eliminated in the United States and Canada are still prevalent in many countries putting travellers  at risk of acquiring one of these diseases again and infecting those around them upon their return! Public health emergencies of international concern(PHEIC) like Polio in the 1950′s and more recent, the 2009 pandemic H1N1, prompted immediate global response. It was recommended that all U.S. citizens receive the H1N1 vaccine. Travellers are especially at high risk for the seasonal flu and many other preventable diseases. Our CDC makes the recommendations of travel vaccines and health information based on WHO surveillance and reporting of disease as well as risk to our citizens.

Travel to parts of South America or Africa, and you will encounter a requirement of Yellow Fever vaccine prior to entering certain countries. All countries have a responsibility to protect their citizens against a disease like Yellow Fever which could endanger entire populations at any time. The traveller must present an International Certificate of Immunization (ICVP) or face possible quarantine in some countries.  You may be at low risk based on your itinerary, accommodations, or season of travel BUT low risk is not NO risk!  A CDC authorized Yellow Fever center such as HealthSmartVaccines, can provide more in-depth travel health information, recommended or required vaccines and certificate of proof for all vaccines. Call 703-961-0733 for more information.

Read More
travel-healthsmartvaccines-adult-vaccinations-travel-insurance

Travel Tips

We want your trip to be the best yet. Here are some travel tips we’ve gathered over the years.

  • Get vaccinated at least ONE month prior to travel. Depending on the vaccine, it may take your immune system 2 or 3 weeks to achieve maximum immunity.
  • Carry first aid supplies and all medications in your carry on luggage, not your checked baggage.
  • Contact your health insurance plan and determine health coverage outside the United States. Most policies do not cover international travel.
  • Purchase travel and evacuation insurance. Medical evacuation may cost in excess of $5,000 and difficult to arrange. Evacuation insurers have the resourses to manage the process for you.
  • Be prepared to self manage travelers diarrhea by packing the medications to relieve this distressing event. Consult with your travel health professional or family physician for a recommended list of medications.
  • If traveling to a malaria zone, carry insect repellent, protective clothing and sleep under mosquitoe netting. Consultant with your travel health professional or physician about use of an antimalarial.
  • At this time malaria is NOT a vaccine preventable infection. Avoid contact with animals, especially in rural areas.

 

Read More