Southern Interior residents have caught the travel bug.
Two in five Canadians plan to travel in the next six months and with travel season here, it’s no surprise travellers want to spend their time away this spring in the sun at tropical resorts, with relaxation at the top of their itinerary.
However, while preparing for their trip, many stress out at the thought of lost luggage and flight delays. While those elements of travel are frustrating, they are ultimately out of travellers’ control. The one thing they can control when it comes to travel though is protecting themselves against common travel illnesses.
In my conversations with patients, I’m often surprised many don’t realize what the potential health hazards are when it comes to travel – even at a relaxing Caribbean resort – with many unaware of the easy ways they can protect themselves to make sure good times are the only thing they catch on their holiday.
Here are my best tips for travellers to keep in mind when vacationing:
Get expert advice—Whether you’re travelling to a tropical location or an overseas adventure, your local pharmacist can provide you with a personalized travel health consultation to help you navigate potential health risks in your destination of choice. Based on your travel health consultation, your pharmacist can also administer vaccines and dispense medications to prevent certain health issues while traveling. To book a personalized travel health consultation at your local Shoppers Drug Mart, visit shoppersdrugmart.ca/travelhealth or use the PC Health App to ensure you and your family have a safe and healthy vacation.
What a travel health consultation includes —The consultation is a personalized risk-assessment specific to you and your travel itinerary, provided by your local pharmacist. The pharmacist will educate you about potential health risks and also recommend any precautions you can take, including preventative travel medications and vaccines. Your local pharmacist can administer the recommended vaccines, dispense the preventative medications and fill any other prescriptions you may have to make it a truly convenient experience. The pharmacist can also suggest a range of other travel-related items to put on your packing list, such as first aid supplies, over-the-counter medications, travel-sized essentials and more.
Why you should have a travel health consultation — According to the Government of Canada, you should consult a health care provider when travelling outside of Canada. To stay healthy while travelling, a travel consultation is recommended for Canadians travelling to destinations such as Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations, or for travellers going further abroad to destinations such as Thailand, China, India or Peru. Knowing about the prevalent risks of your destination will make for a safer, healthier and happier time away.
Know the risks and what to avoid
Consuming contaminated water or food is one of the top ways Canadians contract illnesses like travellers’ diarrhea, the most common travel-related illness. To keep healthy on vacation, drink bottled water instead of local tap water and ask for drinks without ice.
Another thing to be mindful of on your tropical vacation is consuming local raw vegetables or fruit that could be contaminated during preparation with illness-causing germs or bacteria that can’t be washed off with water alone.
To be best prepared before travelling, consult your local pharmacist to see if getting vaccinated is recommended for your destination.
Do some digging and plan ahead. Research your destination. Whether you will be at a beach in Cuba or a wellness retreat in Mexico, it’s not only important to know about the sights you’ll see, but also any potential health risks. Your pharmacist can advise you on what common pharmacy items to include in your packing list.
While there are many aspects of travel stress you cannot control, your health is one thing that you can. Make sure you’re informed about the potential health risks when planning a vacation so all you will come home with are good memories. Book with a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist online or through the PC Health App.
Nathan Klaassen is the pharmacist and owner of your local Shoppers Drug Mart in Kelowna. Visit ShoppersDrugMart.ca to find your nearest store.