Travelling is a rewarding experience that will expand your horizons and expose you to new languages, foods and cultures. Whether you travel for fun or for work, taking a few simple measures could spare you from finding yourself in situations that may put the health of you or your family at risk.
When travelling, you are at increased risk of contracting illnesses due to exposure to different environments. Your pharmacist is a good resource to ensure you have everything you need for your trip.
VACCINE AND IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS BEFORE TRAVELLING
The best way to prevent getting sick when you travel is to be well informed. Your pharmacy is one of the best sources for health information and disease prevention when travelling.
By knowing your itinerary and health background, your pharmacist can assess your destination-specific risk for illnesses and make recommendations, such as:
- Required vaccinations and immunizations
- Medications, such as antihistamines or antibiotics
- Over-the-counter medications for self-care of conditions, from upset stomach to sunburn
- Water purification methods or devices
- Education on illness and injury prevention
Depending on your destination, vaccination may be required or recommended before you leave. Vaccines help protect against serious diseases that you could contract while travelling, such as hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, typhoid and cholera.
Visit your pharmacy 4-6 weeks before your trip to make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations. Some vaccines are given in multiple doses and therefore require more time. Your body also needs to build its defenses (antibodies) after the vaccine is administered, which can sometimes take days or weeks.
If you are within the 4-6 week window, it may not be too late! Some travel vaccines can be started prior to departure and completed once you return. For example, the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended to be administered up until the day of departure. If you require booster shots after you get back, be sure to complete these to ensure that you are fully protected for future travel. Your pharmacist will know how to best adjust the vaccination schedule to ensure you are protected.
Make sure to visit your pharmacist each time you plan to travel abroad. All recommendations will be individualized to your needs, destination and itinerary.