Treatments & Therapies

Travel Medicine – Treatment, Effects & Risks

Travel Medicine

Travel medicine covers various areas, such as prevention and treatment. It is used by people who are planning a holiday in another country or by people who have just left abroad. Especially when traveling to the tropics, precautions must be taken in advance.

What is travel medicine?

The term travel medicine includes all medical measures used for prophylaxis, diagnosis and therapy of diseases that arise abroad. Travel sickness has increased in recent years. A parallel can be drawn to the increasingly frequent stays abroad. In addition, nowadays holidays are spent in more distant regions than was the case in the past. Especially in tropical and subtropical latitudes, many Europeans fall ill.

In most cases, it is a harmless gastrointestinal upset. But even more serious complaints cannot be ruled out. Some can be effectively prevented, such as vaccination or wearing appropriate clothing to protect against mosquito bites. Furthermore, a specific behavior can help to avoid infections. In some countries there are compulsory vaccinations, without which entry is not possible. Such a regulation exists, for example, in Brazil. The South American country can only be by people who have a yellow fever vaccination in the passport. Thus, prevention is also part of travel medicine like treatment in case of illness.

Treatments & Therapies

The goals of travel medicine are different. On the one hand, diseases should at best be prevented, on the other hand, they should be treated in such a way that there is no permanent damage. Different measures are suitable for prophylaxis. These include, above all, vaccinations. A visit to the doctor can provide information about the required injections, which are administered depending on the planned trip.

For example, vaccination against yellow fever is not necessary in some countries, while it should not be missing when traveling to other places. Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, cholerainfluenzarabiestyphoidpolio, yellow fever and meningococcal are particularly recommended. Which vaccination is ultimately really necessary, the doctor decides. Some syringes require multiple applications. Accordingly, it is important that travellers inform themselves at an early stage so that the treatment is completed before the start of the holiday and vaccination protection is thus guaranteed. Furthermore, education is part of prophylaxis. This is offered by some tropical doctors, but also on the Internet there is extensive information.

If the holiday is in the tropics, long clothes and a mosquito net over the bed help against unpleasant bites, which may result in diseases. Fruits and vegetables should be sufficiently washed or peeled. Furthermore, the tap water is not drinkable everywhere. Thus, bacteria or other pathogens may be in the water. In case of doubt, the water should be boiled before consumption, so that it does not come to infection. In addition, travel medicine deals with the diagnosis and treatment of people who have just returned from abroad. In the case of some tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, rapid action is important to maintain health.

In order for the complaints to be classified quickly, a doctor with appropriate expertise should be consulted. Tropical doctors are particularly suitable for this. Other risks of illness when travelling are changed climatic conditions, such as those present at high altitude or in severe cold. Travel medicine thus includes various diseases and complaints. In addition to diarrhoeainfections or parasites, for example, are treated.

Diagnosis & examination methods

The blood provides information about the physical condition of the person in many complaints. Accordingly, doctors often take blood in case of existing symptoms in order to examine it in the laboratory. Such a procedure is also used for many diseases that can be classified in travel medicine. Persistent fever after a holiday in the tropics can be a sign of malaria. As soon as the doctor gains the appropriate suspicion, he usually tries to detect the pathogens in the patient’s blood.

If there are plasmodia in the sample, the disease is considered diagnosed. A similar examination also helps to detect dengue fever. This is usually transmitted by mosquitoes and manifests itself by fever, rash and pain in the jointsmuscles, head or limbs. Dengue fever can usually not be detected directly. The blood test succeeds only between the third and seventh day of the disease, before a diagnosis of the virus is very difficult to complete. At the latest from the eighth day, however, antibodies can be found in the patient’s blood, which are directed against the pathogen. Typhoid fever can also be detected via a blood sample. Changes in the blood can be revealed, such as a reduction in white blood cells.

On the other hand, the situation is different with complaints that affect the stomach or intestinesTraveler’s diarrhea is not a rare symptom on vacation. If this lasts longer than 48 to 72 hours, a doctor should be consulted. A stool sample provides the exact causative agent of the complaints. At best, it is a fresh sample. Traveler’s diarrhea is usually unpleasant, but harmless with sufficient water intake. However, a stool sample can also diagnose cholera as part of travel medicine. Therefore, it is important that the completed leave is always mentioned to the doctor in case of existing complaints.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.