If you’re planning an exotic vacation, chances are you’ll need more than sunscreen and Gravol®. “Depending on which country you visit, you may need vaccinations, anti-parasitic medications, insect repellent or mosquito netting,” says Ms. Maxine West, Administrative Officer at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Tropical Disease Clinic.
Thanks to this clinic, figuring out which vaccines and meds are necessary is relatively straightforward. The key is to know exactly where you are going and to book an appointment at the clinic early. “You may need to see us six months before your trip,” says Ms. West. “Once you’ve seen us, the next step is to take your medications as indicated.”
Most travelers return with benign problems
The Clinic also treats travelers upon their return. “Although we mostly see travelers with diarrhea and rashes, we are most concerned about those complaining of fever,” says Clinic Director Dr. Michael Libman. “If you are returning from a malaria zone with a fever, you need medical attention immediately. It is still a killer and thus our biggest worry. We will assume you have malaria until we rule it out.”
The Clinic has diagnostic laboratories specializing in malaria and other parasitic diseases. “We are a national diagnostic reference centre,” says Ms. West. “We verify findings from other institutions, and consult internationally.”
Get advice before you go
“The best way to protect yourself against an unwanted bug, parasite or illness is to get advice from a reputable travel clinic. Not every clinic has the expertise,” says Dr. Libman.
Need more information?
You can consult with the Clinic’s nurse by calling 514-934-8049 on Tuesday and Thursday between 8 and 9 a.m.