Protect your health before you travel. Not every country you visit will have the same level of health care, medical facilities, or safety that you’re used to in Canada. Therefore, put your health first before ticking off your bucket list! It is important to book a pre-travel health consultation about 6 to 8 weeks before you travel to find out the health risks at your destination, how to manage these health risks, and get vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases of the country you’re visiting.
In Alberta, pharmacists can only administer injections and/or vaccinations to persons 5 years of age or older.
When visiting developing countries, you are more susceptible to catching harmful diseases, such as travelers’ diarrhea, malaria, typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, yellow fever, rabies, and more. These diseases will not only ruin your travel plans but could be super harmful and sometimes even fatal. Sometimes, you will need to get up to 2 to 3 doses of some vaccines to ensure that you’re fully covered before your trip.
During a pre-travel health consultation, our prescribing pharmacist – a travel medicine specialist, and a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) will perform an individual risk assessment, inform you about the potential health risks associated with the trip, and provide risk management measures such as immunizations, prescribe a malaria prevention medication, travellers’ diarrhea medications, and any other necessary medications. This consultation can be provided in-person, by telephone, or via virtual appointment.
A pre-travel health consultation with a travel medicine specialist is necessary for all travellers and is particularly important for those with a history of chronic medical conditions.
Category of travellers that would benefit from a pre-travel health consultation include the following:
- Business travellers
- Adventure travellers e.g., going to high altitude, safari trip
- Visiting friends and relatives
- Humanitarian aid workers
- Mass gathering travellers e.g., going to the Hajj (Saudi Arabia), FIFA World Cup events
- Students going to study abroad
- Long-term travellers
It is helpful always to be prepared for anything when visiting a foreign country. This is especially true for the common health risks or diseases you may not be familiar with. So, it is advisable to have a healthy travel packing list.
Your list should include the following:
- Your routine and travel prescriptions, if any.
- Epinephrine auto-injectors, if necessary.
- Medical alert bracelet or necklace.
- Over-the-counter medicines, such as loperamide, or bismuth subsalicylate for mild travellers’ diarrhea, antihistamine, motion sickness medicine, medicine for pain and fever, mild laxative, sleep aid to help battle jetlag, anti-itch medication, antifungal and antibiotic ointments, etc.
- Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) with UVA and UVB protection.
- Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat for additional sun protection.
- Digital thermometer.
- Health insurance documents.
- A contact card containing the address, phone number, and e-mail address of the following:
- Family member or close contact in Canada.
- Your primary health care provider(s) in Canada.
- Lodging at your destination.
- Hospitals or clinics (including emergency services) in your destination.
- Canadian Embassy or Consulate in your destination country or countries.
Useful tips to help you to stay healthy and safe during your trip:
- Eat and drink with awareness
- Prevent bug bites
- Apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn
- Stay safe outdoors
- Keep away from animals
- Reduce your exposure to germs
- Avoid sharing body fluids
- Select safe transportation
- Maintain personal security, if necessary