Information for Travelers

 

Food and water precautions 

Contaminated food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases. Travelers visiting developing countries are at high risk for experiencing stomach upset due to severe diarrhea. Below are some tips to help you avoid getting sick while you are away.

Eat and Drink:
- Drink bottled water, or carbonated drinks that are sealed
- Ice made from bottled or treated water
- Hot coffee or tea

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Before you Fly

  • Do your research 
  • Pack Accordingly
  • Visit Health Canada’s Travel Health website www.hc-sc.gc.ca for country-specific advice on health concerns, entry requirements, weather, cultural practices and travel warnings regarding health and political concerns.
  • Purchase a travel book on your country of destination or borrow one from the library.
  • Talk to family or friends who have already been to your destination.
  • It is important to understand what kind of clothing and supplies you will need to be comfortable and safe while you travel. Make sure you know 
  • Most importantly about the climate of your destination. What will the temperature be like? 
  • Is it likely to rain? 
    • It is also important to consider the culture of the country you are visiting and appropriate attire. This is especially important for women traveling in many parts of the world.
    • Make sure you are adequately immunized. Make an appointment with a travel medicine specialist at least 2 MONTHS before your departure time.

Insect Precautions

malaria-mosquito-bgTravelers visiting the tropics are exposed to significant illnesses that are transmitted by mosquitoes and
other insects. A few of those diseases are malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya fever, yellow fever and
Japanese encephalitis. Along with vaccinations and preventative medication (where applicable), travelers
should use protective measures to avoid being bitten.

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What is Japanese Encephalitis and how is it transmitted?

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a potentially serious viral infection spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Where is the risk?
The risk of JE occurs mainly in rural agricultural areas in Asia and parts of the western Pacific. The risk is very low for most travellers but varies depending on destination, types of activities, duration, and season of travel.


What are the symptoms?
Most people infected with JE do not have symptoms. Symptoms can develop between 5-15 days after being infected and can be as mild as fever, headache and vomiting. More serious symptoms of encephalitis (swelling of the brain) can follow...

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Typhoid Fever

What is typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is a potentially serious and life threatening disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi.

How is typhoid fever transmitted?
Typhoid fever is most often spread through food and water contaminated by the feces of infected people who prepare food without properly washing their hands.

Where is the risk?
The risk of typhoid is highest in developing countries with poor sanitation, especially in southern Asia (India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh). Other areas of risk include East and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The risk for travellers increases with duration of stay, for those visiting friends and relatives, for those visiting smaller villages and rural areas, and for those with adventurous eating habits.

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Sun Protection

  • Avoid mid day sun
  • Choose broad spectrum sunscreens SPF 30 or higher
  • Apply sunscreen thickly
  • Reapply sunscreen frequently, at least every 4-5 hours, including after swimming.
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Wear protective clothing and broad brimmed hats.
  • Wear lip balm SPF 30 or higher
  • Apple insect repellant 15-20 minutes after applying sunscreen

 


Acute altitude sickness

Machu-Pichu

Acute altitude sickness is caused by insufficient adaptation to the low oxygen pressure at high altitude. Any traveller can encounter acute altitude sickness when staying for 4 to 8 hours above 2000 meters. There is a 25% chance of getting altitude sickness when staying in areas above 3500 – 4000 m, and 45 % chance in areas above 5000 m. People who fly directly to high areas, such as Cusco (Peru, 3225 m), La Paz (Bolivia, 3658-4018 m), Lhasa (Tibet, 3685 m), Leh (Ladakh, 3505 m) etc. should certainly be aware of the possibility of acute altitude sickness.

Sensitivity to acute altitude sickness varies from individual to individual, and is not dependent on the degree of physical fitness, nor on the previous number of visits to high altitude areas. The individual sensitivity is reasonably constant: if there were problems on a previous visit, these are likely to return on subsequent trips. Patients with heart and lung diseases run a greater risk at high altitude. 

The symptoms can begin within 3 days after arrival and may continue for 2-5 days when remaining at the same altitude rather than move higher. Acute altitude sickness: At first the symptoms of acute altitude sickness are mild: the patient complains of headache, fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, insomnia, dizziness and general malaise. The severity of symptoms depends mainly on the altitude and the number of days having acclimatised at about 2000m, the effort expended in getting there and whether the visitor stays overnight. The complaints can get worse (vomiting, dry cough and shortness of breath in rest, “it becomes impossible to finish a sentence without gasping for breath”), and can in some cases develop into a life-threatening condition (this seldom occurs below 3000 m) due to high altitude lung oedema (fluid in the vesicles of the lung, with a worsening dry cough, fever and shortness of breath even when resting) and/or high altitude cerebral oedema (swelling of the brain, with headaches that no longer respond to analgesics, unsteady gait, increasing vomiting and gradual loss of consciousness). 

 

Prevention is important and consists of the following measures:

  • Stay a few days at an intermediate altitude (between 1500 and 2500 m); the heartbeat-rate (pulse rate) when resting must stay under 100 beats per minute. During the day you can climb higher to encourage acclimatisation.
  • Make a flexible travelling schedule with extra resting days once you are above 3000 meter.
  • Avoid sleeping pills and alcohol abuse.
  • An adequate fluid intake; the urine should remain clear!) is absolutely necessary, even if you do not feel thirsty, as fluid loss via respiration increases substantially (e.g. through hyperventilation in a dry environment with a low atmospheric pressure)

Before you travel, protect your health.

TravelSafely with TravelSafe Immunization Clinic