MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – If traveling abroad is in the plans this year, then travelers might want to stop by the Monongalia County Health Department’s International Travel Clinic for health and safety tips.
MCHD Executive Director Dr. Lee Smith said the clinic is offering free advice on what vaccines people may need, how to manage jet lag, road safety, how to manage chronic illnesses and, essentially, anything a traveler would need to know abroad. All that is needed is an appointment.
“Travel clinics are somewhat of a newer form of medicine. People didn’t grow up going to see a doctor to try to figure out what they need to take on a trip. But, this is a bit more of a complex world, and we refer to it as a pre-travel consultation. And it’s, of note, to try to figure out where the person is going, for what length of time, what preexisting medical condition they have, what kind of environment they are going to, all of which have an impact on things.”Dr. Lee Smith – MCHD Executive Director
Smith said there are so many considerations that go into traveling outside the U.S., and the health department just wants to help. Whether or not their insurance coverage applies internationally, how much to budget in case there’s an emergency, these are all things that most people don’t think about, he said.
That is why the MCHD works closely with whoever needs its services, to try to give them a “better understanding.”
“We want to talk about safety and security with people, particularly if you are traveling by yourself, or in a small group,” Smith said.
Regardless of how people travel, one important thing to keep in mind is that they venture with their illnesses, Smith said. That is why travelers have to keep medication supplies in mind, think about how to refill prescriptions abroad and what to do in a medical emergency.
Another serious consideration is how to make sure children are safe.
“I’m always amazed at the number of, not just children, but infants that travel these days,” Smith said. “And, people get around, and what do you do if you’re a pregnant woman, or what do you do if you have a tiny infant?”
Contrary to its name, the International Travel Clinic is not all about international travel. Smith said the safety recommendations and guidance offered by MCHD are available to anyone who is traveling and wants to cover all their bases.
A person does not even need to be a resident of Monongalia County in order to take advantage of the clinic, he said.
“Anyone can come to our travel clinic,” Smith said.
The easiest way to set up an appointment with MCHD is to call 304-598-5100 or visit MCHD’s International Travel Clinic website.
“We are happy to see people, even if it’s just a review,” Smith said.