Primary care physicians, or family doctors, can provide some vaccines, but there are a few things that you may be unaware of.
A primary care physician can warn you not to drink the tap water and make sure your food is cooked all the way, but he or she might just leave out other places where the germs are waiting to join your vacation.
Airplanes are some of the worst offenders as a source of hidden germs. You know that fresh, sterilized smell you experience as you walk onto the plane? No? Neither do we. Even though the flight crew does a good job of tidying up the plane after the last group is off, there is not enough time to properly disinfect everything. Numerous studies have shown that the seats, magazines, and especially tray tables are often sources of bacteria and viruses that can make you sick before your trip even begins.
Even though hotels have a longer window of time for cleaning the rooms, there are still a number of places that host bacteria. For example, investigations have shown that TV remotes and glass cups are seldom cleaned.
Your family doc might not know what vaccines you need
If you visit a doctor before your vacation, he or she might be able to administer a few vaccines you'll need, but it doesn't mean you're completely covered. A study found that when asked to recommend vaccines for travel in other countries, 20-75% of the doctors recommended inappropriate vaccines, often forgetting typhoid, measles, and yellow fever (a vaccine required to enter some African and South American countries).
It may not come as a surprise that doctors overlook the yellow fever vaccine. Few primary care physicians will carry the yellow fever vaccine since it can only be administered by a specially certified Yellow Fever provider. Travelers should check ahead of time with their travel health specialist or the CDC to find out if the Yellow Fever vaccine is required or recommended for their destination.
You could go to a travel expert instead
Another thing your doctor might not tell you is that a travel clinic may have the specific resources that they lack. Experts at travel clinics are knowledgeable about the up-to-date health risks in every corner of the world. Norman Bizon, travel health specialist at Scottsdale-based TravelBug Health says that people should opt for travel clinics because not only will they provide and administer the vaccines you need, but can also inform you about recent outbreaks and safety advisories that your family doctor might not be aware of.
Bizon also says that primary care physicians may not prepare you for conditions like jet lag, motion sickness, or altitude illness, but travel clinics like TravelBug Health regularly include this information – and what you can do about it - during consultations.
For more information, visit http://www.travelbughealth.com/ or schedule an appointment at (480) 435-2774.