Traveling to another country, whether you are visiting family, sightseeing or working, can be an exciting adventure. Part of planning for an international trip includes protecting your health from possible infections that could make you sick, as well as taking precautions against other problems such as traveler’s diarrhea and altitude sickness.
Our medical providers at Circle Health Urgent Care in Billerica and Westford can guide you on how to stay healthy so that you and your family can have an enjoyable trip free from illness. We offer comprehensive medical services for adults and children who are traveling to other countries, including necessary vaccinations and prescriptions for recommended medications. We also provide education on food and water safety and tips for preventing bites from disease-carrying mosquitos.
Travel medicine services are made by appointment only at our Urgent Care locations in Billerica or Westford. Fill out our Travel Vaccination Questionnaire online here. Once your questionnaire has been submitted, it will be reviewed by a member of our Travel Medicine team and we will contact you within 48 hours to go over your itinerary and schedule a consultation appointment. Appointments are also available by calling Circle Health Urgent Care in Billerica at 978-323-2850 or Westford 978-323-0302.
Please bring an itinerary of your travel plans and activities, and your current immunization records.
You will then meet with one of our Urgent Care physicians for a consultation, who will review your itinerary, which must include both the flight connections and final destinations. Our physician will discuss any medical conditions, allergies or medications you have to determine the appropriateness of recommended vaccines.
The Urgent Care physician will give you a written treatment plan outlining the required and additional recommended vaccines for the particular country you are visiting. If your destination puts you at risk for infection from water, food or mosquitos, you will also receive prescriptions for anti-diarrheal and anti-malarial medicines. We will provide costs for each vaccination and medication. After your consultation, a nurse will then give you your vaccines.
We offer the following vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Poliomyelitis (Polio)
- Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap)
- Yellow Fever (not available until late 2018 but we will provide access to a yellow fever site)
We also offer prescriptions for anti-diarrheal, anti-malarial and altitude sickness medicines.
Travel vaccines are elective and usually not covered by most insurance companies. However, many vaccines that are commonly administered in the U.S. such as Hepatitis, Influenza and Tdap may be covered. Most insurances will cover prescriptions for anti-malarial, traveler’s diarrhea and altitude sickness. Check with your insurance carrier to review your coverage. We will provide costs for each vaccine.
The vaccines you need will vary, depending upon the particular countries you are visiting. During your consultation, we will review your itinerary, current medical conditions and medications to determine which vaccines are recommended for you.
In general, you should get your vaccinations one month in advance of your trip, as it may take several weeks to achieve full immunity. However, some vaccines do require a second dose and need more time for the immunity to take effect. We advise you to get a consultation as soon as possible, once you have made your travel plans.
A second visit is usually not needed for most vaccines. However, some such as Japanese encephalitis, requires a second dose, a month after the first is given.
The physician will discuss any vaccine specific risks, however, generally there are possibilities of developing fever, rash at the injection site or an allergic reaction.
Circle Health Urgent Care will be a designated Yellow Fever site, but we are currently waiting on availability of the vaccine, which is anticipated to be sometime near the end of 2018. Until then, we will direct patients to sites in the area that offers the vaccine now.
Be very cautious about drinking water in third world countries. Avoid ice cubes, and try not to ingest any water when taking a shower or brushing your teeth – use bottled water instead.
If you are in an area with a risk of malaria, wear clothing with long sleeves, pants and hats, and use netting around your bed. An insect repellent with DEET is the most effective for preventing bites.
We are available to address all of your urgent care needs, including any post-travel medical concerns.
Resources and Education
- Travel Medicine
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization, International Travel and Health
- International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
- Heading Home Healthy
Circle Health Urgent Care - Billerica
Circle Health Urgent Care - Westford