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How to Prepare For Your Trip: Vaccinations

When you travel outside of Canada, you can be at risk for other illnesses, which can be preventable with vaccines. You want to make sure that you are up to date on all recommended vaccinations before travelling abroad. This is because when travelling internationally, especially to developing countries, you may be exposed to some health risks. The best time to do some consulting about this is to talk with a health care provider at least six weeks before you travel. 

At this consultation, you can:

  • Review your immunization history
  • Make sure your vaccination schedule is up to date
  • Assess your vaccination needs based on where you plan to travel and what you plan to do

There are several factors that might require that you need additional vaccinations such as your age, planned travel activities and local conditions.
Many vaccine-preventable diseases have become rare in North America, such as measles, but they are still common in other parts of the world. So no matter where you plan to go, you should get the recommended vaccines to lower the chances of getting and spreading the disease (especially when you come back home).

Plan Ahead to Vaccinate

Be aware that finding your vaccine records and getting all the vaccines at an appropriate time period before your vacation might take time. The first couple of steps you should do to ensure a stress free experience is:

  • See your health care professional at least 6 weeks before travelling so you can complete a vaccine series and give your body enough time to build up immunity.
  • Ask about routine vaccinations before you travel, and ensure you are up to date on all recommended vaccines.
  • Find out if the country you are travelling to require proof of you receiving the yellow fever vaccine. Only a registered provider can offer this vaccine and you have to get it at least 10 days before travelling. Make sure to obtain a stamped vaccine certificate as well.

Educate Yourself

  • Learn more about the recommended travel vaccines and other medicines you might need for your destination
  • Find out the latest updates for your destination
  • Learn about what specific diseases can affect you while you are travelling

Extra Tips on How to Travel and Stay Healthy

While vaccination is the first step to staying healthy while on your travels, there are other important ways to help avoid illness such as:

  • Be cautious of what you are eating and drinking. So for example, do not drink tap water, and drink bottled water instead.
  • Be wary of bugs (such as mosquitos, ticks and flies) since they can spread a number of diseases. Use insect repellants and other means of repelling bugs.
  • Wash your hands whenever you can with soap and water, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t touch animals where you are, especially monkeys, dogs and birds, since they are one of the more common disease carriers in other travel destinations.

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