Planning a holiday? Take Good Care of your Travel Health!

By Mo Elsalhy

(July 2018) – Canadians love to travel. In November 2017 alone, Canadians made 3.6 million trips to the USA and 1.1 million trips to other countries. The top ten travel destinations for Canadians are USA, Mexico, UK, France, Cuba, Germany, Dominican Republic, China, Italy and Spain. Many of these travel destinations are exotic, tropical and remote.

Travel Health is an important concept to consider when making your travel plans.  Canadians should be aware that travelling increases your chance of getting sick.  The type of sickness can range from mild (e.g., diarrhea) to very serious (e.g., malaria).  Travelling also results in increased exposure to diseases not seen in Canada. Travel Health is designed to help prevent illness from ruining your trip.

Your pharmacist can help you safeguard your Travel Health by putting together a comprehensive package designed just for you. It will include a thorough evaluation of your vaccination needs as well as what to include in your travel kit. It also takes into consideration your medical conditions, medications, the countries/destinations you’ll be visiting, the time of year you’ll be going, how long you’ll stay there, and the kinds of activities you’ll take part in.

Vaccines protect you from disease by strengthening your immune system. Examples of common travel-related vaccines include: Dukerol for Cholera and Travelers’ Diarrhea, Havrix A for Hepatitis A, Engerix B for Hepatitus B, Twinrix for Hepatitis A and B together, Typhim Vi, Vivotif, ViVaxim for Typhoid, Imovax for Rabies, YF-Vax for Yellow Fever and Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) for Tuberculosis.

Travel with peace of mind by knowing what to do if you get ill. Be sure your medications are organized and prepared. Have a printed list of the medications that you carry and be sure to have a sufficient supply of prescriptions and supplements. Be sure that you have all the necessary supplies for your First Aid Kit.

For comfort, include ear plugs, a travel pillow, eye shade, compression stockings, insect repellant, after-bite and itch cream. Travelers should also bring sunscreen and aloe vera as well as medicine for diarrhea, motion sickness and jet lag.

Attention to your Travel Health in advance of your trip can go a long way to ensuring that you have a safe and enjoyable trip. For more information visit your local pharmacist.

Mo Elsalhy is a pharmacist who owns and manages TAWA Pharmasave in Edmonton. He can be reached at 780-758-SAVE or


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