Travel Health: What To Consider when Planning the Perfect Vacation!

Laura Jamieson
27 May 2012

Planning a trip outside Canada? As exciting as that may sound, there are some very important health-related issues to consider when preparing for your vacation!

Everyone has heard of immunizations and most of us have experienced them firsthand. They may not always be the most enjoyable of experiences, but vaccines play a very important role in protecting us from harmful diseases, especially when travelling to foreign destinations.

Did You Know?
You may require certain vaccinations before you will be allowed to enter some countries.

The very first step in protecting your health when planning a trip is to contact your local health care provider or travel medicine clinic at least 2-3 months before your departure. This will allow enough time to have your immunizations completed before you leave on your dream vacation! Planning your immunizations well in advance is key, since many vaccines can take several weeks to become active. Others may require more than one dose.

The types of immunizations you require will depend on many factors, including your travel destination, how long you will be spending there, your medical history, and your immunization history. You will also be asked if you currently have any health conditions, such as allergies, diabetes, pregnancy, or asthma.

Did You Know?
There is no approved vaccine against malaria.

Travel medicine clinics are located across Canada. You can locate and learn how to contact the nearest one by visiting Health Canada's website.

Health Canada's home page: www.hc-sc.gc.ca Health Canada's Travel Medicine Clinics page: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/travel-voyage/clini/index-eng.php

Another useful website for international travellers is Vaccines411.ca. It provides facts about travel-related diseases, general information on vaccinations, and travel vaccine recommendations. Remember, it is always a good idea to learn as much as you can before getting your vaccinations, so you can ask the right questions and get the right information based on your individual needs!

The website of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides important information on travel health.

wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

In particular, the CDC website lets you choose your destination and obtain information regarding any travel notices in effect, diseases found in that country, and other relevant information on staying healthy during your trip.

Did You Know?
The most frequent health problems encountered when travelling are not preventable by vaccines.

Travelling abroad is one the most exciting and educational experiences of all. However, it is always important to keep health and safety in the forefront of your travel plans. After that, all you have to do is enjoy yourself!

Learn More

Travel vaccines (Public Health Agency of Canada)

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/travelvaccines-eng.php#reqimm

Travel Health Fact Sheets (Public Health Agency of Canada)

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/info/index-eng.php

References

Health Canada: www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Vaccine Information and Resources: www.vaccines411.ca

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

Starr et al., “Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life” (1995): 688.

Laura Jamieson

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Guelph. I recently completed a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario and am pursuing a career teaching chemistry.


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