When going abroad, travelers should be cognizant of their health and safety, which is why Dr. Deepa Mukundan encourages them to visit The University of Toledo’s International Traveler’s Clinic prior to departure.The International Traveler’s Clinic, which was started last year, is located in the Richard D. Ruppert Health Center on Health Science Campus. The clinic primarily serves children and young adults; however, adults are able to request appointments as well.
Mukundan, associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases, said the clinic was started because of the special needs of children, adolescents and young adults traveling abroad and the lack of a locally accessible comprehensive medical center for such services.
“Reading the news, you would know that there are many countries outside of the United States trying to contain outbreaks of infectious diseases,” she said. “In our clinic, we assess the risks associated with travel to these places and discuss how best we can minimize them through a comprehensive preventive care program that includes education, prophylactic medications and immunizations.”
“It may seem like common sense,” she said, “but reiterating [preventive care] does add another layer of protection especially if it comes from a medical professional.”
The clinic offers various services, including counseling for the prevention of food and waterborne infections; advice on how to avoid mosquito and bug bites; chemoprophylaxis for infections such as malaria and traveler’s diarrhea; vaccinations against yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid, and other diseases; updates of routine vaccines prior to travel; and post-trip evaluations and treatment for suspected travel-related infections.
“I have practiced medicine in other countries, and I also am well-traveled internationally,” Mukundan said. “I practice strategies that reduce my risk of acquiring infections, especially in countries that deal with a heavy burden of infectious diseases. In addition, I can give travel tips on how to navigate the customs and immigration and counseling on when and how to access health care in other countries.”
To make an appointment, patients should call the clinic; they are asked to make appointments four to eight weeks prior to their travel dates so that any treatments given will have adequate time to take effect. A full itinerary also is required prior to the appointment so that doctors can give complete safety recommendations for all places visited. A record of all counseling, chemoprophylaxis and vaccines administered will be sent to the referring physician.
For more information, contact the clinic at 419.383.3771 or toll free at 800.321.8383.