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Travel & tropical medicine

Our travel medicine specialists are world-renowned experts in global health, merging medical insights with innovative academic research.

Our specialists stay in tune with worldwide health trends and local issues to make sure you get the right advice and travel immunizations for your trip.

Our travel medicine team personalizes your care based on where you’re going and what your plans are.

Between the local food, culture and sights, there’s nothing better than making new memories as you embark on vacation, visit family abroad or begin a new business trip.

At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, our travel medicine experts work with you before and after traveling, keeping you healthy no matter where your journeys take you. Our specialists stay on top of the latest international health advisories and guidelines to make sure you get the right treatments and the most up-to-date advice for every place you’re going.

For the most comprehensive international travel care and vaccination protection, we recommend you see us at least six to eight weeks before travel of any length. But if you’re on short notice, our travel medicine specialists can usually get you in quickly so you’re ready before you go. We’re here to help your trip go as smoothly as possible. That way, you can travel without worrying about your health.

To make an appointment, just choose a location and call to schedule.

Travel and tropical medicine services we offer

Depending on where you’re going, we’ll tailor your travel care so you’ll get the latest information, as well as any necessary travel vaccinations. Our specialists have expertise in several international health topics. We can help with:

Personal risk assessments

Because no two people and no two trips are the same, we’ll conduct a thorough review of your medical history to identify any specific considerations related to your plans. Your specialist will cover your dietary concerns, any chronic conditions and more.

Travel vaccinations and immunizations

Several countries require you to receive certain vaccinations (like yellow fever) before you arrive. In addition, our experts may recommend that you receive others, like hepatitis A, rabies or typhoid to help prevent illness.

Destination consultations

A specialist will discuss your itinerary with you, providing tips and materials on what to eat and drink, how to stay safe and if there are any local wildlife concerns you should know about.

Advice and medications for common travel health problems

Jet lag, traveler’s diarrhea, malaria and typhoid fever are common concerns when traveling abroad. Our experts provide tips for how to avoid these conditions, plus medications that help lessen their impact.

Physical exams and lab work for visa applications

In some cases, the United States or another country may need you to complete a medical examination before they give you a visa. We can help guide you through this process, including which tests and information are required.

Expert travel product recommendations

We have several doctor-recommended products – like neck pillows, sunscreen, insect repellant, first-aid kits and more – to help make your journey safer and more comfortable. Shop online or visit our Park Nicollet Health & Care Store locations in St. Louis Park, Burnsville and Maple Grove.

What we treat and help prevent

Our experts provide counseling, medicine and vaccines to treat and help prevent several common travel conditions, including:

  • Cholera
  • Diphtheria
  • Encephalitis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Jet lag
  • Malaria
  • Measles
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Typhoid fever
  • West Nile virus
  • Yellow fever
  • Zika virus

After-travel illness care

If you’ve returned from your trip feeling unwell, call one of our travel and tropical medicine clinics right away. After learning more about where you’ve been and for how long, we’ll use diagnostic testing to find out what could be making you sick.

Common symptoms of an illness acquired abroad include:

  • Coughing that doesn’t go away
  • Diarrhea lasting two weeks or longer
  • Fever (especially if it develops within 30 days of your return)
  • Rashes

However, if you notice anything out of the ordinary in the weeks and months after you come home, it’s best to consult with one of our doctors.

Frequently asked questions

Anyone who’s planning a trip outside the country can benefit from checking in with a travel medicine specialist. Together, you can review if where you’re heading (and for how long) is likely to cause any concerns. If your specialist decides there may be risks, we’ll make sure you’re prepared.

We work with people of all ages and backgrounds. In particular, we always suggest the following people come see us before international travel:

  • Families with children
  • First-time travelers
  • Immunocompromised travelers
  • Pregnant women
  • Senior citizens
  • Travelers engaging in disaster relief or mission trips
  • Travelers staying abroad for a long time, like students
  • Travelers visiting friends and relatives
  • Travelers with chronic illnesses

Health situations around the world are always changing, so it’s never a bad idea to schedule a consultation to be sure you have up-to-date information for your trip. Your specialist will be familiar with the latest guidelines and advisories for the countries you plan to visit. Even if you’re a frequent traveler, our specialists can give you expert perspectives so you can travel with confidence.

Generally, we recommend you come in around six to eight weeks before you leave. This will allow us to make sure you receive both a comprehensive consultation and any necessary immunizations. Depending on where you’re going, you may need medications or vaccinations that must be given over an extended period of time.

If you’re heading out sooner than six to eight weeks, we often have appointments available to help accommodate short-notice travelers. Call today to schedule your appointment for destination-specific health advice, recommended immunizations and strategies for avoiding many frequent travel ailments.

Your travel medicine specialist will sit down with you and your family to review your medical history and travel destinations. Together, we’ll discuss your unique needs, covering everything from recent local health issues and safety considerations to medical networks where you’re visiting and what to eat and drink. If you need travel vaccinations or medication, we’ll complete those or get them scheduled.

When you come in, please bring:

  • Your itinerary
  • Prior vaccination records
  • A list of medications you’re currently taking
  • Your health insurance ID card

No, we can see everyone in your family at once, so you only need to make one appointment. When scheduling your visit, just let us know the number of people who will be accompanying you.

Your primary care doctor will be able to provide basic information on how to stay healthy while you’re traveling. But for more in-depth advice on travel care for the specific countries you’re visiting, your doctor will likely connect you with a travel medicine expert for the best preparation.

If you’re feeling sick after you come back from traveling, your primary care doctor or urgent care will likely direct you to one of our travel medicine specialists. Oftentimes, conditions present in foreign countries may not be common here. Seeing a travel medicine specialist is the best way to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

No, you do not need a referral to see a travel medicine specialist. Call any of our five travel and tropical medicine clinics today to set up an appointment directly.

You can help stay healthy while traveling by:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly several times a day, especially before eating, after handling animals or after using the restroom.
  • Wearing appropriate clothing for the locations you’re traveling to.
  • Sleeping in enclosed spaces.
  • Taking time to acclimate to high-altitude destinations.
  • Staying hydrated throughout the day.
  • Eating and sleeping according to your local time zone’s schedule.

When eating and drinking, know the origins of what you’re consuming. Especially in developing countries, try to stick to cooked food, packaged food and bottled or boiled drinks. Raw meat, produce and tap water are riskier.

Your travel care specialist will provide specific recommendations for the countries you’re visiting.

Know your medical options before you go, including what your insurance plan will and won’t cover when you’re out of the country. You can supplement your plan with traveler’s insurance that will include coverage for things like emergency services. Check with your insurance provider for options.

If you do get sick while traveling and need medical care, the local U.S. Embassy can often help you find doctors and clinics.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.

Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.

Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started:

HealthPartners: 800-883-2177

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota: 800-382-2000

CIGNA: 800-244-6224 (insurance through work); 866-494-2111 (insurance directly or through the Exchange)

Medica: 800-952-3455

Medicare: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

PreferredOne: 763-847-4477 (in the Twin Cities); 800-997-1750 (outside the metro area)

United Healthcare: 877-842-3210