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Service members required to visit clinic prior to international travel

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – With summer in full swing, families may be preparing to travel locally or to international locations. Preparation for such trips generally center on what to bring, such as personal items and clothing.

However, people seldom consider the medical aspects of their trips. Infectious diseases, extreme temperatures and location hazards are the leading causes of travel-related illnesses to international locations.

The elderly and families with children are among the growing number of high-risk groups for illness. Many of these illnesses may be preventable through training, receiving proper vaccinations, packing the correct clothing for the climate or other means.

In an attempt to safeguard the health of all service members, it is mandatory for active duty military at Hanscom AFB to make an appointment with the 66th Medical Squadron’s Travel Medicine Clinic prior to traveling to an international location.

A Public Health technician will conduct an individualized pre-travel assessment of the traveler’s destination to identify medical risks and/or hazards. The program provides education about food safety and sanitation, cold and heat stress precautions, personal hygiene tips, communicable diseases, animal and insect hazards and other country-specific health risks.

Even if you are familiar with an area, there may be new health risks since you last visited.

Some of these topics might seem to be common sense, but education is key when it comes to traveling safely.

While MDS personnel recommend family members also visit the travel medicine clinic prior to international travel, it is not mandatory.

Military personnel must schedule pre-travel appointments no later than one month from the expected travel date.

If travelers have recently returned from abroad and are feeling ill, they can make an appointment to see their primary care manager and inform them of their symptoms and any recent travels.

Office hours for the 66th Medical Squadron Public Health Office are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For further information, or to schedule an appointment, call 781-225-6295.