Think of it like your insurance for fun and relaxation. Every year thousands of Canadians end up spending their vacation in the bathroom or in bed, or worse, in hospital—because of an illness that could have been prevented. So before you jet off for a spring break trip abroad, check this list to see what you may need to protect yourself.
- Hepatitis A vaccine – You can get it drinking untreated water, eating contaminated uncooked foods such as shellfish, or eating foods prepared in unsanitary conditions.
- Tetanus shot –The potentially deadly bacterium that causes tetanus can found in soil, dust and animal feces and the disease can develop from a cut or burn, ear infection or animal bite. After receiving the initial vaccines, a booster is required every 10 years.
- Dukoral vaccine – An oral vaccine that prevents traveler’s diarrhea, sometimes called Montezuma's revenge in Mexico.
- Malaria pills – Purchase malaria pills. Malaria is a common and life-threatening disease in many tropical and subtropical areas. It is most often spread to humans via infected mosquitoes.
- Zika virus – The infection is caused by a virus which is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against it. Travellers should protect themselves during the day with mosquito repellent, long sleeves, and pants.
Pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant during their travels or immediately afterwards should consider avoiding travel to areas where an outbreak is occurring. After being in an affected area women wishing to conceive should wait two months after returning. If the man has a confirmed case of Zika virus he should wait six months until having unprotected sex.
Call the VCH Travel Clinic at 604.736.9244.
The clinic also offers an email consultation service for travelers who live outside the Lower Mainland.
The clinic also offers a variety of travel products such as mosquito nets and repellant.
When you travel abroad, you get exposed to bugs and viruses that your body may have never encountered before.