Online travel care with a doctor you choose
Vaccinations and medications, pre-travel counseling, post-travel care. Our HealthTap Primary Care doctors can offer specialized care and advice for issues related to Travel Medicine.
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Frequently asked questions
What is travel medicine?
Travelers' medical care is a branch of medicine that focuses on preventive pre-travel health care. At HealthTap, we offer services that keep people safe as they travel, whether across the state, the country or the entire world.
Travel medicine often includes recommended travel vaccines uniquely catered to protect patients against the infectious diseases they may encounter on their journey and at their eventual destination.
Common immunizations that are recommended for travel, especially to particular destinations in international travel, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:
- Dengue fever
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
- Yellow fever
While some of these recommended vaccines are routinely given as part of most people's childhood vaccine series, others can be ordered by a doctor like ours at HealthTap, or performed at a local health department.
Travel medicine also includes ensuring patients have the proper paperwork they need to travel. The vaccine requirements will vary from country to country, so patients should make sure they do their research and get any travel vaccinations with enough time to spare.
Our doctors at HealthTap can also guide you in learning what you may need. If an official travel vaccination card is needed, a traveler can ask for such a card at an in-person travel vaccine clinic or public health clinic.
What to do if you get sick while traveling?
Illness can strike at any time. However, not every place has a travel clinic that is easily accessible to patients.
At HealthTap, we believe that doesn't mean that people should forgo care. Our telehealth app gives patients access to medical advice via text messaging from trusted healthcare professionals they understand, wherever and whenever they need it, as long as a doctor-patient relationship has been established in a video visit prior to traveling.
Can a tourist get medical treatment in the USA?
Visitors from outside the country do not get free medical treatment while in the United States, so it is strongly recommended that they purchase travel insurance. However, healthcare is usually available if the patient is willing to pay for their expenses out-of-pocket.
Telehealth apps like HealthTap are an excellent option for foreign visitors, as they are easy to download and provide quick access to care. Using HealthTap for minor illnesses is also far less stressful than searching for an appropriate clinic or hospital, especially for people who may be unfamiliar with the area they're staying in.
What are the most common travel illnesses?
While the types of injuries and illnesses people will encounter depend on where in the country (or world) they visit, a few health issues are more likely to occur than others.
For example, people traveling long distances in a closed form of transportation, like a train or an airplane, are at a higher risk of catching a cold, the flu or COVID. Travelers' diarrhea is also very common, caused by food poisoning, unsafe water or just new and unusual cuisine.
People spending time on a boat (like a cruise ship) are also at a higher risk of developing “sea sickness,” which can easily impact a vacation. In addition to ordering travel vaccinations, our doctors may also be able to prescribe preventive medications, such as a medicated skin patch, to minimize the risk of feeling seasick before it strikes.
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Travel telehealth services
COVID advice for travel
Motion sickness prevention
Vaccine counseling and orders
Safety counseling, wilderness planning
Insect bites and stings
Wilderness trip counseling
Contraceptive counseling, STI/STD prevention
Emergency contraceptive pills
STI/STD prevention and screening
Prescriptions or refills
Chronic medication refills
Allergies and EpiPens
What we don't treat
Support animal certifications for travel
Ordering medical equipment or devices
Controlled substances, narcotics, or stimulants
HealthTap virtual visits are not intended for use in medical emergencies
Always call 911 or your local emergency service immediately if you think you have an emergency. If you experience any of the following medical issues or any other critical or life-threatening situations, go immediately to an emergency room:
- Chest Pain or Pressure
- Convulsion or Seizure
- Difficulty Breathing
- Mental Health or Substance Abuse Urgency
- Moderate to Severe Burn
- Pain Medication Overdose or Reaction (Narcotics)
- Serious Head, Neck, or Back Injury
- Serious Limb Impairment or Broken Bone
- Significant, Uncontrolled Bleeding
- Suicidal Ideation
What we can't prescribe
There are some medications that telemedicine providers, including HealthTap doctors, rarely if ever prescribe or refill.
Opioids and other controlled substances like:
Psychiatric drugs like:
Lifestyle drugs like:
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Geoffrey Rutledge, MD, PhD, FACMI
Cofounder and Chief Medical Officer, HealthTap
Dr. Rutledge is a double-board certified physician who practiced and taught medicine for more than 25 years. He attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, then completed residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSD, and was certified by the boards of Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. He earned a PhD in medical computer science from Stanford, was an NIH-funded researcher, and served on clinical and teaching faculty at Harvard, Stanford, and UCSD medical schools. Before co-founding HealthTap, he created the first consumer health website and PHR at Healtheon/WebMD, was SVP of clinical transformation at First Consulting Group, CMIO at San Mateo Medical Center, and EVP, Product Development and Chief Medical Officer at Epocrates.