SPRINGFIELD – From missionary workers to seasoned world travelers, Mercy Medical Center’s
Travel Medicine Clinic can be a godsend.
“We offer an individualized plan based on one’s travel needs and destination,” nurse Jennifer Fortin, said. She has completed 100 hours of training in travel medicine.
Sitting at her desk with mounds of travel information at her fingertips, Fortin is enthusiastic about her role in Mercy’s Infectious Diseases Department as she preps for the afternoon’s visitors coming in.
Postcards from exotic lands dot her office from travelers who have met with her and used her advice to ensure a safe and healthy journey.
“I research and educate travelers on their chances of contracting a serious disease or illness,” she told Reminder Publications
Fortin cited hepatitis A, meningitis, typhoid fever, yellow fever and rabies as examples of illnesses that can be contracted while in a foreign land.
“Older travelers also will have different needs than a younger traveler,” she said.
Fortin sees individuals ages 14 and older on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays by appointment from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Mercy campus, 300 Stafford St., Suite 306.
Fortin noted that “ideally” individuals should make an appointment four to six weeks prior to departure since some vaccines may be necessary and need time to incubate.
“Vaccines given at the last minute are not as effective as those that were given two to three weeks prior to departure,” she said.
The clinic offers complete travel related health services including vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis and health teaching. The real time data is researched by Fortin through the Centers for Disease Control
“We need to know your itinerary to ensure a custom tailored plan to help you stay healthy,” she said.
Fortin noted the clinic is also staffed by Dr. Claire Magauran, medical director and Glynis Barney, medical assistant.
“Dr. Magauran is a world traveler who is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases and has a special interest in tropical and travel medicine,” Fortin said, adding that Barney works with travel patients to help coordinate their services.
Individuals receiving a 30-minute consultation leave with a mini travel medicine health guide, a fact sheet on medicine prescriptions and instructions for use and a trip kit checklist in addition to specific information on one’s travel destination.
Fortin offered some basic suggestions while on any trip, and especially in areas where health care options may be limited. Tips include:
• Let your body adjust once you arrive.
• Protect yourself from disease-bearing insects.
• Never go barefoot – even on the beach.
• Make sure your water is purified.
• Consume only well-cooked food.
• Eat fruits and vegetables that you have washed and peeled first.
• Prefill your prescriptions since they may not be available at your destination.
• Don’t swim in rivers, lakes and streams.
• Choose means of transportation carefully.
For more information or to arrange a consultation with Fortin, call 748-9927.