I returned from a two week jaunt to India this past weekend. My husband had business there and I tagged along for a little sightseeing as well as to meet with ThriveAP’s hard working programmers (I’m probably the least techie website operator on the planet). Last year our trip to Jaipur under similar circumstances went without any major hitches. We arrive home fat from consuming copious amounts of garlic naan and relatively well rested. So, this time around I approached the adventure with a pretty relaxed attitude.
Towards the end of our trip, I severely regretted the decision to toss the Cipro from my suitcase and found myself Googling the Indian equivalent of Pepto. Some sort of tropical or food borne illness got the better of us for sure. I made use of an air sickness bag for the first time ever at age 30. Never have I wanted to be at home in my own bed so badly. Experiencing a new array of clinical symptoms had me feverishly researching topics like “typhoid symptoms” and “incubation period of malaria”. Dehydrated and weak, we did ultimately make it home safely and on time (our luggage did not!).
My recent ailment has certainly piqued my interest in foreign illness and travel preparation. So today, I’ve compiled a list of travel medicine resources for nurse practitioners. If you’re educating patients vacationing in other countries or are simply seeking to stay clinically up to date, check out these resources.
CDC Travelers’ Health
By far, the most comprehensive source of travel medicine information comes from the CDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website contains an interactive tool allowing you to select a country of travel providing resulting health warnings as well as disease prevention tips. It also gives information regarding which vaccines and/or prophylactic medications your patients will need depending on their destination. A healthy traveler packing list is also available offering recommendations for over-the-counter meds that may come in handy while away. The healthy travel packing list may even be a bit too comprehensive-your suitcase won’t have room for clean socks if you do tote along everything on the list.
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygeine offers courses on travel medicine topics. Medical professionals may even choose to take the organization’s formal exam to obtain a Certificate of Knowledge in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers’ Health.
If you want to take the leap from stateside learning into the international field, TROPMEDEX is the organization for you. TROPMEDEX offers tropical medicine excursions throughout Africa. Training takes place at the bedside as well as through case presentations and lectures at various local teaching hospitals. Unfortunately, the program is based in Germany and won’t provide continuing education credits for nurse practitioners practicing in the U.S. Still, if you can’t get enough leprosy, dengue, and shigellosis, this course could be right up your alley.
International Society of Travel Medicine
The International Society of Travel Medicine offers a variety of resources for nurse practitioners interested in the subject. Perhaps the most helpful of these resources is a comprehensive database of travel clinics searchable by city and state. If you don’t offer travel medicine services yourself, the database will help you refer your patients appropriately. Annual conferences and review courses also offer nurse practitioners the opportunity to become more familiar with international health issues in person.