Family Travel Medicine Clinic Ensures Healthy Trips


If you are traveling outside North America, Renown and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine have a Family Travel Medicine Clinic that can provide advice and guidance before you make that big family trip. 

You just decided on your next vacation with the children, the itinerary looks spectacular, the accommodations are impressive, and the whole family is excited. This time you have been a little bold, and you will be visiting a rather exotic country.

As you mull over all the new experiences you will be exposed to, you start considering some of the practical things that need your attention before you go.

What currencies do you need to bring along? Is it safe to use your credit cards? Are you insured for any medical situations you may experience; wait a minute: medical conditions?Is it medically safe to visit? Moreover, what about the children? Will you be exposing them unnecessarily to tropical diseases? You go online and sure enough, it mentions Dengue fever, possibly malaria, and yellow fever. Where can you go in Reno to find medical specialists that can provide advice and guidance?

For a little while now, UNR’s School of Medicine and Renown Health have been offering advice for people traveling outside North America. From July onwards, the UNR-Renown Family Travel Medicine Clinic will be complimented by Dr. Sara Healy, a pediatric infectious disease specialist working at Renown Children’s Hospital, who herself has extensive experience traveling in Africa, where she helps eradicate malaria.

Together with Dr. Steven Zell, professor of internal medicine at UNR Med and a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine, they will offer advice before and after you (and your children) travel to countries that warrant you being more knowledgeable about what to expect and look out for.

Related: 5 Tips for a Relaxing Vacation with Kids

Since they have access to a network of more than 1,400 travel experts and colleagues worldwide, they can ensure that you obtain the latest medical updates on global health risks worldwide. Because some disease information changes frequently, having access to the most current data and resources will provide you with the very best care and advice before you leave Reno.

During your visit to the UNR-Renown Family Travel Medicine Clinic, they will provide an in-depth analysis of any potential risks associated with your planned itinerary, and they will make recommendations specific to your trip for you, your partner and your children. They will recommend whether you need specific vaccinations, whether you need to update vaccinations previously received (for example, the tetanus vaccine) and they will administer the vaccinations that you and your children need. They will prescribe medicines that can be used for protection against infections such as malaria and traveler’s diarrhea, and they will prescribe medicines that you can take if you develop certain symptoms.

Related: 4 Must-Do Tips for a Healthier Vacation

Dosage for children is often not the same as that for adults, so it is convenient to have both a travel medicine expert for adults and one for children at the same location at the same time. Finally, after you return they are available for consultation if one of you develops symptoms that may be related to an illness contracted while traveling. What a great service available right here at home in Reno.

Dr. Max J. Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA, is professor and Nell J. Redfield chair of pediatrics at University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. He is also physician-in-chief at Renown Children’s Hospital.

This article also appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of The Galena Times.