Here's a new, easy way to get the vaccines you need.
Your Local Health | Written by BJ Towe
“We often hear patients say they wish there were something closer than going downtown or to Ames to get their travel immunizations,” says Sim Palagummi, M.D., an Internal Medicine physician with The Iowa Clinic. “That's what drove us to open The Iowa Clinic's International Travel Medicine Clinic in Urbandale.”
The clinic, which opened last month, aims to help prevent infectious diseases by providing all types of travel-related immunizations under one roof. Dr. Palagummi and Internist Eric Donels, D.O., provide the Clinic's services. Palagummi says, “There are also illnesses that are food-borne and do not have vaccinations. Therefore, in addition to providing the necessary immunizations, we use the patient's travel itinerary to talk through any environmental risks and precautions they should take. These include personal safety, foods they should or should not eat, and general hygiene.”
Palagummi and Donels, both members of the International Society of Travel Medicine, have extensive experience with illnesses specific to various foreign countries. “We both have a passion for travel medicine and are well aware of diseases, have experience with vaccinations, and are up-to-date on related issues,” he adds.
Before you go
To gain the full benefit of travel-related immunizations, plan to be vaccinated at least six weeks before leaving on your trip. “We can provide immunizations for every member of the family with just one appointment,” Palagummi adds.
Here's what you need to know:
- Appointments should be made at least three days in advance to ensure that all necessary vaccinations are on hand.
- Prior to your appointment, a nurse will call to go over details and obtain personal health information.
- Take your itinerary to your appointment.
During your Trip
After visiting the International Travel Medicine Clinic, you will receive access to The Iowa Clinic's online patient portal. This gives you 24-hour access to physicians — even when you're half a world away.
“Anytime you have problems or questions, you can shoot us a message through the portal. We'll answer the question, offer advice, and help any way we can,” Palagummi adds.
When you Return
Although not required, patients are encouraged to visit the Clinic within two or three weeks after their international travel.
“This is particularly important if the patient has had any side effects from the immunization, or if they have any symptoms of illnesses that could take weeks to develop, or that the patient may not recognize as symptoms,” says Palagummi.
The Main Thing
“Travel vaccinations are not available everywhere. Our primary goal is to provide the immunizations and education close to home. We want to make sure you're good to go, and that you're okay when you come back,” Palagummi adds.
Some Common International Diseases
||Contaminated food or water
||Sex, contaminated needles (tattoos, piercings, etc.), medicinal procedures (blood products)
||Contaminated food or water
There is no FDA-approved vaccine or medicine available for Ebola. That's why it's important to be educated about this life-threatening infection.
In West Africa, there is a widespread outbreak of the Ebola virus. While the Ebola outbreak is endemic (local) mainly to the sub-Saharan Africa, isolated infections elsewhere in the world have been reported.
Up to twenty-one days after being exposed to the virus, people can develop flu-like symptoms, which ultimately lead to bleeding complications and widespread infection in the body. Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development but have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.
GUARD YOUR HEALTH: Be educated, be on the alert, avoid potential contacts, and watch for symptoms. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola. If you think you may have any symptoms of Ebola, call your doctor immediately.