FirstHealth of the Carolinas opened its new Passport Clinic this August to provide travelers with comprehensive health services prior to departure.
International tourism increased 182 percent in the first three months of 2022 compared to the previous year, a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization found.
The uptick in global travel is expected to continue through the summer and reach pre-pandemic levels. Navigating tourism requirements, especially post-pandemic, can be challenging and FirstHealth Passport Clinic will serve as a resource to help individuals through the process. Patients can receive vaccines and personalized health services based on their specific risks and conditions.
The clinic will be located at 35 Memorial Drive in Pinehurst and will be staffed by FirstHealth infectious diseases physicians. Doctors will focus on the unique needs of each patient, including destination-specific requirements and the management of chronic health conditions.
“We know travel requirements can be confusing, especially if you’re headed to a remote destination,” said Leigh Formyduval, regional director of operations. “Some countries require specific tests and vaccines. Our infectious diseases physicians can help streamline the process and make meeting your health care needs easier.”
The creation of the clinic was, in part, due to COVID-19 and the rapidly evolving testing and vaccine requirements in each country. However, FirstHealth Passport Clinic physicians will advise patients on preventing diseases of all kinds, including parasitic infections, diarrheal disease and malaria. Doctors may suggest certain destination-specific vaccines and provide tips on how to stay healthy when travel takes you out of your normal routine.
Pretravel evaluations will also be offered to ensure patients are fit for travel. Infectious Diseases Physician Gretchen Arnoczy, M.D., said this component will particularly benefit those with chronic medical conditions.
“Individuals with long-term health issues may need additional medications or vaccinations,” she said. “We’ll also help them plan for unpredictable situations that could arise so they can stay safe and healthy if they find themselves in an unexpected circumstance.”
Physicians may address the risks of eating new foods, sitting for prolonged periods of time and adjusting to higher elevations, as well as provide education on how to best prepare for those situations.
“We are so excited to bring these much-needed services to the community and help people get back out into the world with the proper health resources,” said Formyduval.
To learn more about FirstHealth Passport Clinic, visit www.FirstHealth.org/passportclinic or call (910) 715-7883.
Photo: Infectious Diseases Physician Gretchen Arnoczy.