Preparing for a Healthy Vacation

Although no one likes to think that anything could go wrong in the days prior to an exciting vacation, it is very important to take the precautionary steps needed to make sure illness doesn't strike. Adding healthcare to your vacation preparation checklist is a good idea to ensure that all steps have been taken to prepare for a safe and healthy getaway.

Here are some important travel tips to ensure all healthcare needs are met before your trip:

Keep your immunizations up to date.

  • Health Canada reports that over 50 percent of Canadians over age 18 have not kept their tetanus shots up to date.
  • Although childhood immunization programs have significantly reduced vaccine-preventable diseases (i.e. diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, etc…), you may still be susceptible to bacteria if your immunizations are not kept up to date.
  • Remember to update your tetanus and diphtheria shots every 10 years throughout your life in order to stay protected.
  • Depending on where you are travelling, your healthcare professional may suggest to you other immunizations, specific to the destination you are travelling too (i.e. For instance, in countries where sanitary conditions are poor, immunizations against typhoid and hepatitis A may be strongly recommended).
  • Always remember to visit your healthcare professional at least six to eight weeks before a vacation as some immunizations may need to be administered over weeks and/or months.

Travelling to a country where malaria is common? 

  • Malaria, a sometimes fatal infection if left untreated, can be contracted from just one bite of an infected mosquito.
  • If you are travelling to an area where malaria is common (i.e. the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia), ask your doctor about antimalarial prevention that might be right for you, based on the destination you will be travelling to.
  • Although the right antimalarial is a good precautionary measure to take, it does not guarantee you will not contract the infection, so make sure you take other steps to avoid being bitten while travelling.

Pack the appropriate medication. 

  • If you already have an existing condition, make sure to pack enough medication to last for the duration of your vacation and carry it with you in two different pieces of luggage, in case one gets lost or stolen
  • Don’t forget to keep the medication in its original packaging and carry a copy of the doctor’s prescription note with you in case you need to get medication while away.
  • If you require sterile needles or syringes, always remember to bring a doctor’s note or medical certificate with you just to be safe.
  • If you are going on a cruise and are prone to motion sickness, make sure to ask your doctor about medications that can help with nausea.

Know who to contact in case of an emergency.

  • Take some time before you leave to do some research on the list of emergency contact numbers that may be of particular use to you, (such as the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate) in the country where you will be visiting and bring this information with you.

Don’t leave home without travel insurance.

  • Did you know that the average cost per hospital stay in the United States in 2011 was over $15,000 ($US)?
  • Did you know that the average cost for a medical evaluation on a cruise ship could reach $150,000 ($US) if you are not covered?
  • Even if you are only going as far as the United States, you should arrange for private travel health insurance to be safe.
  • You cannot plan the unexpected so make sure you are covered!

ScotiaLife Travel Insurance allows you to select the coverage that best suits you and your travel plans. Depending on your age and travel details, we offer comprehensive products that best suit your needs, contact us today at 1.877.421.0157 to ensure you are protected!

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