Travel Safe News

by TravelSafe Clinic TravelSafe Clinic No Comments

Love, Exciting and New: Tips for Cruising

Anyone who is old enough to remember watching The Love Boat in the early 80’s (we are) knows that taking a cruise can be entertaining, exciting and even romantic!

Indeed, that quirky show did much to popularize the cruising industry, which is now grander and more fun than ever–even though, today, you may not run into random 80’s B-list celebrities like Charo and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

In any case, cruising can be wonderful, but before you embark on the high seas for some tropical locale, it’s wise to consider your health status.


Are You Ship-Shape to Cruise?

Cruising has many benefits over traditional travel, as you don’t have to worry about driving in scary traffic, dealing with car rentals, hotel bookings, confusing GPS directions, and a multiplicity of other stressors and anxiety-inducing scenarios. It’s a delight to be able to board a cruise ship knowing that almost everything is taken care of and all-inclusive!


Cruising is generally a low-risk mode of traveling but it isn’t recommended for travellers who have a history of serious unstable chronic cardiovascular disease or pulmonary disorders. Women diagnosed with high-risk pregnancy requiring regular monitoring should also avoid traveling on cruise ships, as adequate medical care or staff may not be available under these conditions. Whatever your health status, it’s always a good idea to check with your cruise line company and check what type of medical services and staff are available during your cruise.


If you’re healthy and well, traveling by cruise ship is a safe and fun way to visit new destinations and meet new people. Heck, you may even fall in love! And if you don’t, you’re basically on a floating buffet–so it’s a win-win!


What to Bring on the Boat

Before you embark on your ocean adventure, have a look at the suggestions below for what to pack in your bag:


  • Sun Hat (Being on deck and surrounded by water can increase exposure and intensity of the sun. Be sure to bring a hat that will adequately shade your face and neck)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun protection (SPF 30 or higher)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Take advantage of using hand sanitizer to decrease risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, such as influenza)
  • Gravol or similar product (Over the counter medication to combat sea-sickness may be useful if you experience motion-sickness)
  • Malaria prophylaxis, and Vaccines (Depending on your destination and port stop activities. Consult TravelSafe for further information.)



Now you’re ready to slip on your white loafers, sharpen your shuffleboard skills and start your pre-cruise diet! Remember there are gym facilities on cruise ships and fitness classes which are worth taking advantage of so that you can maintain your health regime even on the water.

And, if you’re lucky, you may even run into Marie Osmond or David Hasselhoff…but that may just happen on 80’s television.

by Penny Gleave RN, BScN Penny Gleave RN, BScN No Comments

Minimizing Jet Lag


Jet lag occurs when travelling over one or more time zones.  When flying eastbound, it causes problems falling asleep and difficulty waking up in the morning.  When we fly west, we have difficulty staying awake in the evening and will wake early.  Eastbound travel can take longer to adjust to than flying westbound.  Jet lag affects people of all ages, fitness and those who travel frequently.

Travelling through more than one time zone can throw off our body’s inner clock (circadian rhythm) decreasing our mental capabilities and causing digestive disturbances.  Headache, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea and sleeping difficulties are common.  It takes time for our bodies to adjust to the new time zone.  Thankfully, jet lag is temporary and only lasts three to four days.


Tips to minimize jet lag


Before you depart

  • When flying eastbound, go to bed one hour earlier each night a few days before departure.
  • For westbound destinations go to bed one hour later for a few nights before departure.
  • Choosing a flight that arrives at your final destination in late afternoon or early evening can also be helpful as you will only need to stay awake for a few hours after arrival.
  • wear comfortable clothing with footwear you can remove easily


When you’re flying

  • Change your watch to the local time of your destination
  • If it is nighttime at your destination sleep on the plane or read, listen to quiet music
  • Try to stay awake if it is daytime at your destination
  • avoid caffeine, and alcohol
  • drink water to thirst


When you arrive

DO NOT NAP!  While this may be tempting it is best to adapt to the new time zone as soon as possible.  If you must have a rest, sleep in the early afternoon for 20-30 minutes and set an alarm to ensure you wake up.  Sleeping during the day for long periods will prolong jet lag.

  • Go to bed at the same time as you would at home and get up at your usual time
  • use ear plugs to sleep and try to make the room dark and comfortable
  • Eat small meals at local meal times
  • avoid caffeine after mid-day and drinking alcohol
  • expose yourself to natural light or sunshine during the day


Sleep aids

For adults, over the counter sleep aids can assist with jet lag.  Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body that regulates our sleep and waking cycles.  It is also available in pill form at your local pharmacy or health food shop.

According to Bernice Li, Bsc. (Pharm), RPh Pharmacist at The Pharmacy Kitsilano, taking 3-5 mg of melatonin one day before you depart and continuing for 3-5 days after you arrive is a possible safe option for reducing jet lag.  Currently studies are inconclusive on the effectiveness of melatonin but is a viable option for adults.  Bernice continues, ‘melatonin will not work immediately but it is a safe alternative to try.’

Although there are prescription and other over the counter sleep aids available we recommend you discuss these options with your family doctor.

Travellers taking insulin may need to adjust their insulin schedule during travel and when you arrive at your destination.

Jet Lag can be distracting but it will resolve.  The excitement of travelling to a new destination for pleasure can make jet lag much easier to endure.



Before you travel, protect your health.

TravelSafely with TravelSafe Immunization Clinic