Summer is just around the corner but if you’re planning on traveling doctors recommend you see them first.
Dr. Pranav Shah, an infectious disease physician with Lee Health, says the goal is to prevent patients from contacting diseases like Zika, malaria, and West Nile virus. “When they travel to these places they can take certain vaccines or medications so they don’t get sick. Like if they go to Africa then they need to take a yellow fever vaccine in certain parts of Africa.”
Doctors say before you travel out of the country, make an appointment to find out what vaccines you might need. “Other important diseases which occur when people go to South America, Asia, Africa, those illnesses like dengue, malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya virus, those can happen when people have infections come back here and the mosquitos here bite them and they can transfer them to other people,” said Dr. Shah.
Depending on the virus, doctors say the symptoms can vary. Most will present with a fever, but some, like dengue, may present with a rash. Zika can cause abnormalities in unborn babies, and Chikungunya can cause severe joint pain. “When we see these illnesses we make sure that we ask about their travel and where they came from,” said Dr. Shah.
Even if you’re not traveling, doctors say there are things patients should do to protect themselves from bug bites. “We do see a lot of bug bites which is routine skin and soft tissue infections. Drain all the puddles or any water which gets accumulated and make sure there’s no stagnant water because that’s the breeding place where mosquitos breed. Cover yourself, wear full clothes like pants if you’re going out in grass, use bug spray,” said Dr. Shah.
Prevention is better than a cure, so it’s important patients take caution to prevent viruses.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.