what is travel medicine?
Travel medicine, also known as emporiatrics, is a discipline that seeks to prepare travelers with knowledge and information about their destination, protect travelers from risks through knowledge and preventative care in the form of vaccinations, medications, and other preventative steps, and care for travelers once they return from their travels. Travel medicine practitioners should be trained in these aspects and continue to stay updated with new and relevant information.
Preparation includes providing travelers information about where they are traveling and risks present in those locations, including infectious disease, animal, crime/safety, and other health risks. For example, there is a different risk profile in an older traveler with a suppressed immune system traveling to parts of Brazil or sub-Saharan Africa compared with a younger individual with no medical history. Different insects pose different infectious disease risks in different parts of the world. Advice regarding proper clothing and insect repellants are vital. The preparation adapts to the needs, abilities, and situation of the traveler.
Protecting travelers entails providing timely and relevant information to the traveler regarding the risks present in their itinerary and, relating to preventable diseases and conditions, providing vaccinations and medications to offer a level of protection to the traveler against diseases and ill health conditions.
Medical care for returning travelers is provided if the traveler becomes sick while on their trip or becomes sick once they are back at home. This may involve performing diagnostic tests and referring to a specialist.