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Travel Visit Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need to give all of the information on the Traveler Information Form (TIF) ?
All of the information – age, sex, marital status, year of birth, age, personal medical issues, destination(s), length of stay, rural/business travel, and occupation are carefully considered by our physician in devising medication and vaccination recommendations that comply with the latest standard of medical care (including non-travel, “routine” vaccinations), yet provide you the greatest value. We are committed to neither under, nor over-prescribing. Only with information at the level of detail on the TIF can you get the customized care plan you expect and deserve.
How many shots will I need?
On average, our travelers need 4-8 vaccinations, depending on their destination, previous immunization history, etc.
Is it ok to take all the shots at one time?
In general, yes. A healthy immune system is capable of processing multiple vaccines to generate the desired immunity from each of them. There is no interaction between most of the vaccines and so concurrent vaccines do not increase the risk of side-effects from any of them.
Will the shot hurt?
It would be disingenuous to state that any injection is without discomfort. However, our experienced staff are trained to give as close to pain-free shots as you will ever experience.
However, if injections cause you great anxiety, make sure you tell our staff. It is far better for you to receive such injections lying down, so there is less risk of fainting and fall-related injury.
If I have a reaction, what might that be?
The most common reactions are minor and self-limited and what you might expect: soreness at the injection site or the nearby lymph nodes (indicating a proper immune response to a vaccine), generalized aches, low-grade fever. Such reactions usually occur within the first 1-2 days after vaccination and quickly subside. Over the counter anti-inflammatory meds, like ibuprofen, will moderate the symptoms.
Other very uncommon reactions may occur, but they are specific to each vaccine and can be reviewed in the written content for each vaccine on our website (traveldoc.com/vaccines) and in the vaccine consent forms you will review and sign prior to vaccination.
Will I see the doctor?
Our consults are done by experienced travel nurses after the physician has reviewed your trip and medical information and made recommendations. You may see the physician as needed at your request, especially if there are special personal medical circumstances that complicate the decisions regarding the vaccination and preventive medications for your intended travel. However, there will be an additional charge for that time.
The care plan recommended for you has been formulated after review by the physician of all the information you submitted. This process has been configured to give you the most expert recommendations customized to your age, medical issues, and travel risks, while minimizing costly physician time.
In this way, we hope to keep medical expenses the lowest possible percentage of your overall travel cost.
We feel this provides the best value, with most of the medical expense concentrated in the actual vaccinations and medications.
With all the other things that I must handle before leaving the country, how can I make my time spent at the IMC facility minimal?
If the TIF is properly completed and your care plan is done, then you are ready to complete final pre-vaccination paperwork and discussion as you arrive. Otherwise, again, the delay of getting the absolutely critical TIF information completed pushes everything back for everyone in line. Please do everything you can to forward complete information well ahead of your appointment to help us serve you better.
What if I have sent my trip information ahead of my scheduled visit, and then things change?
Do not wait until your arrival to tell us of any changes in your medical or travel information. Call us as soon as things change and our physician will review your chart and make any needed adjustments in his recommendations.
Why is IMC not able to file with my insurance?
Most IMC services are preventive and are directed at discretionary healthcare issues, not covered by insurers. Similarly, elective cosmetic surgery (not reconstructive to rectify damage from disease or traumatic injury) is a discretionary action desired by an individual, and insurers feel that decision must be paid for personally. The decision to travel to places with exceptional medical risks is a personal one, all costs to be borne by the traveler.
What are the rules regarding medication refills?
Refills will be provided when joined to an office visit or, without a visit, for a service charge of $30 to cover our staff’s time in the task.
However, at the discretion of the physician, a request for a refill may require an office visit if it has been a year or more since last seen or if controlled substances are involved (narcotics, sleeping pills, sedatives, etc.). Phoned in refills are a courtesy and an occasional accommodation to our busy patients. But, the physician must balance this with the state medical licensing board’s requirements that prescription medications be joined to a physician-patient encounter as part of legitimate medical practice. So, the physician will draw limits on frequency of refills and time since last visit when asked to approve a refill.
What type of record do I receive for the vaccinations given?
Your vaccinations will be documented and dated in the standard “yellow book” – International Certificate of Vaccination.
How far in advance should I receive the vaccinations before my departure date?
In general, it is optimal to complete vaccinations at least 2 weeks before departure to assure you have the protective antibodies you hope your immune system generates from the vaccine. If you have a medical condition or are on medications that can impair immunity (such as steroids), you should complete vaccinations even sooner since your immune system may lag in response. In those circumstances, the physician may even recommend you have a serum antibody test run to assess the response to a vaccine in case you need a booster vaccine dose above the usually recommended. Such tests can take 1 – 2 weeks turnaround.
It is also best, if you are taking along medications you have never tried before (such as antimalarials), to take 2 – 3 doses to see that you tolerate them before you have departed.
What shots do I need?
That is a complex question which is answered after review of all the information provided in the TIF. Basically, it breaks down into two categories: the nature and duration of travel and information about you.
This information is weighed to formulate the most medically rational recommendations with the optimal value (cost and risk/benefit of vaccines and medications versus risk of disease).