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Passport Health on 9News with Dr. John Torres and the importance of Travel Vaccinations

June 1, 2011

KUSA 9-News recently did a story on travel vaccinations and interviewed one of our clients and our president.
Please visit our In The News page to view the story:
Passport Health on 9-News

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Top 10 Tips For Staying Well on Spring Break

March 9, 2010

Michelle Reesman, RN, Executive Director of Passport Health Colorado, says far too many Spring Break travelers leave home without taking the basic steps she suggests below. “Younger travelers may feel invincible, but they still need to put the same kind of preparation into their health and safety as they do into their destination choice, passport acquisition or flight plans. Too many otherwise wonderful trips are spoiled when these simple rules are ignored” Reesman advises.

  1. Getting sick while you travel is no fun. Prepare for a safe and healthy trip by getting advice from a travel health professional before international travel. The professional will give you the most up-to-date recommendations for malaria, anti-diarrheal medication and immunizations for your trip.
  2. Protect yourself from insect bites. Use insect repellants with 20-35% DEET on all exposed areas of skin. If not staying in an air-conditioned room, use a bed net. The insect repellant “permethrin” can be sprayed on clothing and bed nets.
  3. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 – as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.
  4. Don’t drink tap water or drinks made with ice. And brush your teeth with bottled water. Bottled water is plentiful in most areas around the world.
  5. Eat only hot, well-cooked, foods. If you eat fresh fruit and veggies, make sure you can peel the skins yourself. Bananas and oranges are examples.
  6. Swim in well-chlorinated pools and salt water. Avoid swimming or wading in rivers, lakes and ponds, which can contain parasites.
  7. Be aware of local laws. Some countries have severe penalties for illegal drugs and excessive use of alcohol.
  8. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and injury among travelers. Wear a seatbelt in the car and a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Travel only during daylight hours.
  9. Take along a basic first-aid kit. Include medications such as ibuprofen for pain relief.  Discuss the options for treatment of travelers’ diarrhea with a travel health specialist.
  10. Prevent sexually transmitted diseases by using condoms bought in the United States.

Have fun, Reesman advises. Spring Break only comes around once a year!

Michelle Reesman, RN is the Executive Director and Co-Owner of Passport Health Colorado. She holds a Certificate in Travel Health from the International Society of Travel Medicine and counsels thousands of travelers every year who are venturing to all corners of the globe.  Passport Health Colorado, with offices in Glendale/Cherry Creek, Lakewood, Boulder, Centennial, Colorado Springs, and now Fort Collins, offers immunizations, medications and destination specific international wellness information. For more information, visit PassportHealthCO.com.

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H1N1 Shots Available to Everyone

December 12, 2009

We are pleased to announce that five Passport Health Colorado locations are offering the H1N1 vaccine for the general public. Anyone 6 months of age and older is now eligible to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.  All vaccines are first come, first served and while supplies last.

Our current clinic listings are:

Boulder: Saturday, December 12th walk-in clinic (no appointment needed) between 10a – 2p. Saturday, December 19th by appointment only between 10a – 2p. Weekdays by appointment only.
Lakewood: Saturday, December 12th walk-in clinic (no appointment needed) between 10a – 2p. Weekdays by appointment only.
Centennial: Weekdays by appointment only.
Cherry Creek: Saturday, December 19th by appointment only between 9a – 12p or walk-in (no appointment needed) between 12p – 4p. Weekdays by appointment only.
Colorado Springs: Weekdays by appointment only.

We also still have Seasonal Flu vaccines available for anyone who would like it.

Please call us at (303) 442-8728, (719) 387-5528 or (970) 484-2148 to schedule an appointment or for directions to any of our offices.

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H1N1 Shots Available

December 7, 2009

Passport Health Colorado now has doses of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine available in our Boulder, Lakewood, Cherry Creek, and Colorado Springs offices (nasal spray and injectable shot versions), and are expecting to receive doses H1N1 influenza vaccine in our other offices soon. Keep watching our website for upcoming H1N1 clinic date and times in our 6 offices.

  • Boulder: During the week (Monday through Friday) by appointment only or Saturday, December 12th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, walk-in clinic (no appointment needed)
  • Lakewood: During the week (Monday through Friday) by appointment only or Saturday, December 12th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, walk-in clinic (no appointment needed)
  • Cherry Creek: During the week (Monday through Friday) by appointment only
  • Colorado Springs: During the week (Monday through Friday) by appointment only

The H1N1 vaccine is currently reserved for clients in one of five risk categories:

  1. Pregnant Women
  2. Caregivers or household contacts of infants under 6 months of age
  3. Children and students aged 6 months through 24 years
  4. Healthcare workers
  5. Adults over 24 years of age with underlying health conditions. Examples of those conditions include chronic pulmonary (asthma, COPD, lung disease), cardiovascular (congestive heart failure), hepatic (hepatitis, cirrhosis), hematological (leukemia), neurologic (epilepsy, Parkinsons), neuromuscular (MS), metabolic (diabetes), or immunosuppressive disorders (cancer, AIDS, HIV, steroid medications).

The price for all H1N1 shots are FREE, however there is a $15.00 vaccine administration fee per dose.

Seasonal flu vaccine is also now available on a first come, first served basis. We have limited doses of both injectable (ages 6 months and up) and FluMist nasal spray vaccine (ages 2-49 years and healthy).

For an appointment in any of our locations, please call (303) 442-8728 or (719) 387-5528 or (970) 484-2148

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Will the 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) Influenza Vaccines be Safe?

September 28, 2009

We have received this question many times, mostly from people assuming that the vaccine is a brand new vaccine that is being catapulted through the testing and approval process. It is important to note that the 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine is not a “new” or experimental vaccine; it’s simply a new strain of the influenza virus, which is turned into a vaccine using the same process that seasonal flu vaccine goes through each year in production. The response to the 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine should be similar to seasonal flu vaccine. Here is the CDC’s response to this question:

“We expect the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine to have a similar safety profile as seasonal flu vaccines, which have a very good safety track record. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans have received seasonal flu vaccines. The most common side effects following flu vaccinations are mild, such as soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be closely monitoring for any signs that the vaccine is causing unexpected adverse events and we will work with state and local health officials to investigate any unusual events.”

If you experience abnormal side effects after receiving the novel H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine, always report your symptoms to the doctor or health care professional that administered the vaccine. This will enable a report to be submitted to a nationwide database that allows tracking of trends for side effects.

For more information on 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine safety, please visit the CDC safety website.

Written by: Holly Brown, Office Manager for Passport Health Colorado

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Seasonal Flu Vaccines By Appoinment Only

September 25, 2009

There is now a limited supply of seasonal flu vaccine. Call Passport Health Colorado to be put on our waiting list and we will be providing seasonal flu vaccine based on the waiting list as we receive vaccine.

Prices for Seasonal Flu Vaccine fr September 2009 – May 2010 are as follows:

  • Adult Flu Shot (Adult 18+ years) = $25
  • Pediatric Thimerasol-free Flu Shot = $40
  • FluMist – Thimerasol-free (ages 2-49 only, intra-nasal spray) = $40

Receipt provided upon request. Passport Health IS NOT a Medicare/Medicaid provider and WILL NOT submit claims.

Policy for Vaccinating Children: Minimum of 6 months of age. For the first year of immunization the child will require 2 doses, 30 days apart. Children under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult. Administration of vaccine is first come, first served.

All flu vaccines are by appointment only, please call 303-442-8728; 719-387-5528 or 970-484-2148 to be put on a waiting list.

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How can I get the H1N1 vaccine?

September 15, 2009

Here’s the latest new as of September 9, 2009. In the state of Colorado, H1N1 “Swine Flu” vaccine will only be available through county health departments in October-December to high-risk groups. Private providers, like Passport Health Colorado, will be able to provide H1N1 vaccine to the general public as of January 1, 2010.

On a national level, Passport Health is working closely with the CDC to be a provider for the H1N1 vaccine nation-wide. Here at Passport Health Colorado, we are working closely with our colleagues at the health departments to get doses for our clients. Last week, I attended a meeting with all of the Denver metro county health departments to get an update on what they are planning for H1N1 vaccine delivery.

The first doses of H1N1 vaccine are expected to ship sometime in October. For all of November and December, the health departments will be running community clinics and focusing on high priority clients only (pregnant women, school children and young adults up to age 24, caregivers of infants, healthcare workers, adults with chronic medical conditions ONLY). The general message from all counties is that H1N1 doses for all non-priority clients will not be made available to community vaccinators (such as Passport Health Colorado) until after January 1, 2010.

Once doses are available, we will be scheduling walk-in clinics in our offices as well as corporate H1N1 clinics. Prior to January, our clients in the priority risk groups should receive the vaccine through community channels. Please continue to check our website and this blog for more updates. We will post community clinic dates as information becomes available.

Written by: Rebecca Sundhagen, RN, BSN; Nurse Manager for Passport Health Colorado

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What’s the Difference? Seasonal Flu Vaccine vs. H1N1 Flu Vaccine

August 14, 2009

With the recent news and spread of Swine Flu and the production of the H1N1 Flu Vaccine, you may have questions about the differences between the new H1N1 Flu vaccine and the Seasonal Flu vaccine. Well, we’re here to help distinguish the difference between these two types of flu shots! Here is some information that should help you know the difference between these two vaccines. Nothing is definite regarding H1N1 vaccine delivery dates, but here is what we know as of today:

Seasonal Flu Vaccine:

  • Single annual dose (or 2 doses one-month apart for first-time vaccinations for children younger than 9 years old)
  • Covers 3 different strains of the seasonal influenza virus
  • Will be provided in our offices and during our Flu Clinics
  • Does not give you protection against H1N1 novel flu
  • Recommended for anyone who wants to avoid getting the flu, with extra emphasis on young children and the elderly population
  • Passport Health provides Preservative-free and Thimerosal-free seasonal flu vaccine in all of our public flu clinics
  • Remember; 36,000 people die every year from complications of seasonal influenza

H1N1 Novel Flu Vaccine:

  • Two-dose series, with the 2 shots given 3 weeks apart
  • Covers 1 strain of novel flu (H1N1 novel flu virus)
  • Does not give protection against seasonal flu
  • Vaccine is still being tested and manufactured, and may be available in late September, October or November
  • Initially recommended for populations at risk, which include pregnant women, infants, caregivers, and young people under the age of 24
  • Is expected to be available from private channels (Passport Health) and through public health (government) sources

Passport Health Colorado is watching the H1N1 novel flu situation very closely, including possible participation in H1N1 novel flu clinical trials. For more information, visit the CDC’s Novel H1N1 Vaccination Planning Q&A web page. We will keep you updated as more information on the H1N1 novel flu vaccine becomes available.

Written by: Rebecca Sundhagen, RN, BSN; Nurse Manager for Passport Health Colorado

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It Only Takes One Mosquito

April 24, 2009

Malaria. Not something to which most in the United States give much thought. Sunday, April 26th is World Malaria Day… a day to take a moment to learn and to think about a disease which is prevalent in other parts of the world, but one about which you might know little or nothing.

To much of the underdeveloped and developing world, the parasitic disease of malaria is a disease that is dealt with on a near constant basis. It is estimated that there are 300-500 MILLION clinical cases of malaria worldwide per year. Malaria takes 2.5 million lives every year, many of those the lives of the most vulnerable: the elderly, the chronically ill, and children. For every death from HIV/AIDS there are fifty deaths from malaria. Malaria affects over 40% of the world’s population.

Malaria is a disease which is carried by the female anopheles mosquito from person to person through its “stinger”, which is actually a tube through which blood is “sucked” out of its victim. While having its meal, the mosquito can introduce the protozoa which cause malaria into the body of its victim. There are a number of different organisms which cause malaria: Plasmodium falciparum, P.vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. The most deadly of these is P. falciparum. Complicating the current world malaria situation is the emergence of drug resistant and multi-drug resistant malaria. At this time, though work continues to find one, there is no vaccine fro malaria.

So, just how much exposure to these protozoa does it take to cause malaria? How many times does a person need to be “bitten” to contract the disease? The answer might surprise you. It only takes one mosquito “bite” from one infected mosquito to cause malaria. Those who live in malarial areas may acquire a level of immunity to various disease (malaria included) to which they are exposed on a regular basis, but many who live in these areas battle malaria on a regular basis nonetheless. Children are especially at risk for malaria as it takes time for this acquired immunity to develop. Even in areas that have a winter when the temperatures are colder and the potential for contracting malaria is decreases, the risk is still present.

Malaria, when identified early and treated appropriately, is completely curable. It is a common misperception that once you have malaria, you always have malaria. Some who have had malaria treated early and well go on the be free of malaria, even to the point where they are able to donate blood. Although there is no vaccine for malaria, there are medications available that are taken prophylactically that disrupt the malarial protozoa’s life cycle and its ability to cause disease. For those who live with the constant threat of malaria, it is not reasonable to take medications to keep from getting the disease. It is only reasonable to take other preventative measures and to treat the diseas when it is contracted. A difficulty of life added to life which is already usually difficult enough. That is “them”.

YOUR life becomes potentially directly affected by malaria when traveling internationally. When traveling to areas where there is malaria, it is an important part of your travel plans to seek assistance from travel health professionals to determine appropriate prophylaxis to help protect you from contracting malaria. While a person who is taking prophylactic medications can still contract the disease, the chances of doing so are decreased dramatically. Anti-malarials when chosen and taken appropriately are very effective. Because of the rise of drug resistance forms of the disease, it is important to get the most up-to-date information on which drug is the most appropriate for your itinerary. All types of malaria medications need to be taken for a time prior to entering a malarial region, the entire time the traveler is in a malarial region, and for a prescribed amount of time after leaving the malarial region. The lengths of times take before and after being in the malarial region will very depending on the type of medication to be taken.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, rigor, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, muscle aches, sweating, flu-like symptoms, fatigue and headache. Onset of the diseas is usually between 7-14 days after exposure. For shorter trips, this can mean that symptoms may appear after you have already returned home. Should you develop these symptoms during or after a trip to a malarial area, it is important to be checked for malaria as earlier treatment gives the best outcome. Symptoms can come and go as the parasite goes through its life cycle. Symptoms which might be malaria should be evaluated as such for up to a year or even longer after diagnosis and treatment of malaria, so it is very important to specifically request screening for the disease even though it might seem unlikely to be the cause.

In addition to taking prophylactic medications, it is important to take other measures to protect yourself from insenct bites. There are many other diseases which insencts transmit for which there are no vaccinations or prohylactic medications. Mosquito nets, permethrin-treated clothing, spray insecticides, bug repellents containing DEET, and clothing which covers most of the body are important elements to limiting exposure risk. DEET is not an insecticide. DEET works by making you “invisible” to mosquitoes. The higher the DEET concentration, the longer it is effective. The female anopheles mosquito feeds between dusk and dawn, so even at night, it is most most important to be vigilant in personal protection. There are other mosquitoes which carry dengue fever and yellow fever which bite at other times during the day. It is important to protect yourself around the clock against mosquito and all other insect bites using a number of different approaches. Anti-malarials alone are not enough. DEET alone is not enough. Mosquito nets alone are not enough.

The Travel Health Specialists at Passport Health Colorado will assist you in determining your level of risk and make recommendations for appropriate medications and personal protection to help you keep as safe from malaria as possible. Information is power. The information your Travel Care Specialist gives you is designed to help you be a confident, healthy, and safe traveler.

Please call our offices at: 303-442-8728; 719-387-5528 or at 970-484-2148 to set up your appointment for your journey overseas, and to allow us to serve and help you in determining what your risks would be at your destination.

What can YOU do to help? There are organizations whose focus is on the distribution of sleeping nets, vector spraying, malaria treatment, and the development of a vaccine. Inform yourself. Act. You might not be able to solve the malaria problem for the whole world, but you can help one person, and to that person, their world would be a better and safer place. Find an organization you like and be generous in your support. You could be saving a life.

Written by: Linda R. Norris, R.N.; Nurse for Passport Health Colorado

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Our New Fort Collins Office!

April 17, 2009

We are proud to announce the opening of our new office in Fort Collins, our sixth office on the Front Range.

Our offices are among the over 160 Passport Health offices nationally. The new Fort Collins office reflects the fact that travel medicine clinics are among the fastest growth areas in the health care delivery arena, treating more than 60,000 clients each month.

In all of our offices, we provide destination-specific travel health information and immunizations for international travelers. Our biggest clients include major corporations, universities and non-governmental organizations operating in the developing world.

Our Travel Medicine Specialists administer and prescribe vaccinations and medications recommended by the CDC, WHO, and other world surveillance organizations that constantly monitor outbreaks and other health hazards. Our services include the full range of travel health information and immunizations, anti-malarial prescriptions, protective vaccines for a healthy lifestyle, on-site flu clinics, and on-site immunizations for groups and organizations.

We carry a full line of specialty travel health products including protection kits for malaria, diarrhea, and water purification. Each office has a full stock of all vaccines that are recommended or required for international travel including: pre-exposure Rabies, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalititis and Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis. We also respond to the community’s need for speciality vaccines that are not necessarily related to travel, including Influenza, Pneumococcal and Shingles vaccinations.

For more information on Passport Health Colorado, visit www.passporthealthco.com or call 303-442-8728.
To reach the new Fort Collins office, call 970-484-2148.

Written by: Erich Kirshner, Passport Health Colorado’s Media Relations Contact (erich@kirshnercommunications.com)