Travel Health- Pharmacy Technician
The number of international travelers surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2014, an increase of 51 million over 2013.1 Many US residents who travel internationally do not seek pre-travel health advice, even when planning trips to developing countries.2 Yet as many as 64% of people who have traveled to developing countries report travel-related health problems. Today, pharmacists in both community and clinic settings are providing a full or partial range of high quality travel health services that are well accepted by patients.4-7 In some states, such as California, pharmacists can provide travel-related prescription medications and vaccines, and order relevant laboratory tests.8 This issue provides an overview of the healthcare provider’s role in travel health services and serves as a primer for common travel related diseases. Table 1 lists practical facts about travel-related vaccines. The Patient Connection addresses common questions about travel immunizations and safety measures that help prevent food-, water-, and insect-borne infections. Within the specialty of travel medicine, travel health primarily focuses on pre-travel services. The goal of a pre-travel consultation is to identify all potential health risks and to educate and equip travelers to respond to those risks. In addition to addressing vaccine and non-vaccine preventable diseases, the travel clinic provider can anticipate the need for treatment of environmental conditions such as motion sickness, altitude sickness, and jet lag. (These travel concerns will be explored in a future issue.) Ideally, the consultation takes place at least 4 to 6 weeks before travel. The travel health provider must carefully assess the health background of the traveler including age, immunization history, pregnancy status, medical conditions, and current medications. The traveler’s geographic destinations, planned activities, duration of travel, and types of accommodations must also be considered. 3,9-11 Based on the information gathered, advice should be personalized, highlighting the likely exposures. Appropriate vaccinations and medications, both prescription (eg, malaria chemoprophylaxis) and nonprescription, should be provided...