Family Health, Your Health | 4 years ago

Need Vaccines for International Travel? You Don’t Have to Journey Far

New International Pediatric Travel Clinic Caters to Globetrotting Families

A new clinic will help families prepare for summer vacation season by giving them quick access to necessary vaccinations or medicine required for international travel.

To help fill a local void of pediatric physicians who specialize in travel medicine, Lee Morris, MD, led the effort to open Carolinas HealthCare System’s first International Pediatric Travel Clinic.

Vaccinations for travel are typically required before visiting places throughout Africa, Asia, South America and Central America. In addition to keeping your seasonal vaccines up to date, doctors may suggest other vaccinations.

“Not all doctors are familiar with what preventive medicines and vaccines are required – and most clinics don’t stock them – but our pediatric travel clinic will be a leader in this type of service,” says Dr. Morris, a pediatric infectious disease specialist. “There’s definitely a need for this, especially in pediatrics, and our clinic will be a place where children and families can go to get all their necessary medications and vaccines before visiting foreign countries.”

Vaccinations Help Prevent Severe Illness

More common dangers, such as typhoid, malaria, yellow fever and the recent threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus have contributed to a growing need for the services of Dr. Morris. “The most commonly recommended vaccine helps prevent typhoid, but there are others that prevent more exotic diseases like Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever, which requires a special certification for doctors to be able to administer,” says Dr. Morris. “I also recommend patients are up-to-date on their hepatitis A, tetanus and meningitis vaccines. But ultimately, it depends on where the child and family are travelling.” Dr. Morris says children are especially at risk of getting sick because their immune systems haven’t fully developed. “Roughly 60 percent of children who travel internationally end up getting sick,” she says, “and about 20 percent require medical attention for these illnesses.”

How It Works

Before visiting, patients complete an online questionnaire, explaining where they’re going and for how long. Doctors use this information to determine if and what types of vaccines are needed. Families should check in with their doctor at least two months before travel because it can take up to a month for some vaccines to be effective, says Dr. Morris. “The appointment acts as a pre-travel counseling visit for the whole family,” says Dr. Morris. “We’ll give them information and handouts about the vaccines and preventive medications needed, as well as discuss general travel safety tips and recommendations.” Dr. Morris typically sees pediatric patients, but will provide care for the entire family at the new clinic.

Contact Us

To make an appointment, or for more details, call Levine Children's Specialty Center at 704-381-8840 or ID Consultants PA & Infusion Care Specialists at 704-331-9669.