KIDZ Immunization Center
Travel Medicine Services at KIDZ Medical Services
Traveling to different countries can be exciting. However, when you travel to a tropical or developing country, you may be unsure about the safety and quality of food and water, as well as possible exposure to mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects and animals.
Certain vaccine-preventable illnesses (such as polio, measles, rubella) may be endemic in the countries you are traveling to. If you do not know how to protect your family against them, you are taking a huge and unnecessary health risk.
At KIDZ Medical Services’ KIDZ Immunization Center, our goal is to help keep your trip free from illness. To meet this goal, you will be asked to complete a detailed questionnaire regarding your health and your travel itinerary. This will help us make appropriate recommendations for vaccinations and preventive medications for your children.
Our staff is highly trained. Dr. Kunjana Mavunda has a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene (DTM&H) and is one of only two physicians in Florida who has passed the certification exams administered by American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) and International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM).
We routinely obtain information about diseases that are prevalent in countries around the world from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and other sources. We specialize in pediatrics, but we work closely with patients of all ages and those with complicated medical conditions. Since we speak several languages, we can also provide consultations for travelers in different countries.
Immunosuppressed patients (such as those who have had bone marrow transplant, are taking suppressive medications after a transplant, or those with HIV) are at higher risk of vaccine-preventable diseases. However, since some vaccines may be contraindicated for special populations, it is important that your vaccine provider is knowledgeable about vaccines and their contraindications as well as how the vaccines interact with each other. Our doctor and staff are continuously educating themselves and provide the most current information and treatment.
After you return, if you develop symptoms such as fevers, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stools, headaches, skin rash, joint and muscle pain, please schedule a follow-up visit as soon as possible. Some illnesses can emerge weeks or even months after you return home. For example, hepatitis B symptoms typically appear 3 to 4 months after infection. Keep this time lag in mind, especially in case of intestinal illness.
If an illness is severe or does not improve after 3 or 4 days, call us. We will ask you your itinerary, what you did, how long you stayed, what you ate and drank, and if you recall being bitten by any insects while traveling.
We wish you safe and disease-free travel. To learn more about our travel medicine services or schedule an appointment, call KIDZ Medical Services at (305) 668-0248.
What You Need to Know
Travel to destinations beyond North America and Europe is increasing. Serious health risks occur- especially where sanitation and medical conditions are poor. Diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid, hepatitis, yellow fever, rabies, measles, malaria, and travelers' diarrhea pose threats to the unprotected traveler.
Most immunizations or health precautions are not required for entry to foreign countries. However, they do provide valuable protection for people who wish to travel in good health.
TravelWise: View immunization recommendations by country on this handy pdf.
USE COMMON SENSE: Traveling to tropical climates may be a big adjustment for body and mind. You will enjoy your trip more if you take precautions to stay healthy.
DETERMINE YOUR RISK: Each traveler is unique. Your risk of exposure to disease and developing an illness while traveling is determined by several factors: your current health, age, length of time before departure, geographical destinations, itinerary, purpose of travel, length of stay, type of accommodations, and food and water sources.
ASK ABOUT IMMUNIZATIONS: Appropriate immunizations to maximize your health protection can take up to eight weeks, so make your appointment as soon as you start planning your trip.
RECOGNIZE AND REDUCE YOUR RISKS: You can further safe guard your health by understanding how diseases are transmitted in the country you are visited and by taking precautions to reduce your risks.
- Food and water precautions: Consuming contaminated food and water is one of the most common ways travelers develop illnesses. Ensure your water is properly purified and food is either well-cooked or washed and peeled.
- Insects: In most developing and third world countries, insects can be a threat to your health. Wear protective clothing. Always use an effective insect repellant.
- Contaminated soil: Soil can be contaminated with bacteria that can enter broken skin and cause tetanus. Certain parasites are capable of entering unbroken skin. Always wear protective footwear. Try to avoid direct contact with sand and soil that may be contaminated with animal feces.
- Person to Person: Along with the common cold, diseases such as influenza, diphtheria, meningococcal meningitis and tuberculosis are transmitted from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Diseases transmitted by sexual activities, body piercing, contaminated needles or syringes or blood include Hepatitis C, B, and AIDS.
Preparing kids for international travel should start no later than 8 weeks before the start of your trip. Schedule a visit to your travel medicine specialist or pediatrician. Your doctor will also help you get the latest information on the immunization requirements of your destination and on any recent disease outbreaks that you should know about. Keep to a schedule: Children respond well to routines. Planning travel that coincides with children's normal sleeping time causes less disruption, and keeps them from feeling "cooped up". Confirm air travel arrangements: Specific seating requests can make your flight more comfortable.
Bring along the necessities: When traveling with an infant, always bring the bottles and nipples he or she is familiar with. Disposable diapers: pack a good supply in the crevices of your luggage, and keep one easily available. Ear pain: When traveling by plane, children often experience ear pain as the pressure inside their inner ears equalizes during take-off and landing. Nasal congestion makes the problem worse. There are things you can do to help relieve the pain and to comfort your child. Disease carriers may pose special risks to kids: an organism (a virus, bacteria or parasite) and a carrier (an insect) cause vector-borne diseases. The two most common such diseases in travelers are malaria and schistosomiasis. Other diseases, such as dengue fever, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, are also increasing
Although pregnancy does not mean a woman cannot travel, traveling internationally while pregnant presents unique problems. There are no restrictions on air travel for pregnant women, but the second trimester is considered the safest. While flying, pregnant women should avoid cramped positions and sitting for long periods. Moving your legs and toes helps to improve circulation on long trips.
The most important things for the pregnant traveler to know are:
- How to prevent and treat malaria
- How to prevent and treat traveler's diarrhea and other food- and water borne diseases
- Where to get the best quality medical care at your destination
- Your medical coverage
- The warning signs of a problem or pregnancy-related illness
- Specific hospital names with English-speaking doctors
What vaccines are required prior to travel?
It will depend on where you are traveling to. Visit the CDC’s Traveler’s Health website or make an appointment with our office.
My child has had regular pediatric vaccines. Will more vaccines be needed for travel?
We can advise after reviewing your child's travel itinerary, medical history, and immunization records.
Do adults need vaccines also?
All adults need certain vaccines updated regularly.
How do I prevent malaria?
Depending on your travel itinerary and health history, we can prescribe an appropriate medication.
Does health insurance pay for the vaccines?
Some pay for some vaccines, others do not. You will have to check with your insurance carrier.
Do I need to make an appointment?
Yes; we review your travel itinerary and medical history before we give vaccines. Ideally, you should come at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.
Do vaccines cause side effects?
We will review the efficacy, medical necessity, and expected side effects at the time of the appointment.
How long do the vaccines protect against disease?
It varies. Some vaccines protect for 10 years, some for 3 years. Some vaccines are given as a series and provide protection for up to 30 years.
REMEMBER: The prevalence of many diseases around the world is increasing. Certain precautions, vaccines, and prophylactic medications are required for safe travel, whether this is for pleasure, work, or long visits.