Travel Health

Did you know... that Canadians took 776,000 trips to overseas countries in January 2012? Canadians are on the move. Read on to learn important information on how you can travel safely.


Your doctor may suggest some vaccines before you travel. You may have already had many of them already; the types of shots will vary depending on where you are traveling. For some travel, proof of certain vaccines is mandatory.

Always carry a copy of your immunization record with you when you travel.

Routine vaccinations:
  • Hepatitis B
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Polio
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
  • Meningococcal
  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal
  • HPV

Common travel vaccines:
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies
  • Yellow fever
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Cholera

Preventing hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is found in the Caribbean and Central/South America. It is often passed through contaminated food and water.
Here are some tips to help to protect you:
  • There is a vaccine for both hepatitis A and B
  • Drink only water that has been boiled/filtered or treated, or bottled water. Use bottled water for brushing your teeth. Avoid ice.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before eating
  • When it comes to food, boil it, cook it, peel it, or avoid it! Eat only well-cooked food that is still hot when served.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy foods such as ice cream
  • Avoid food from street vendors


Preventing hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is spread through infected body fluids such as blood. To avoid getting hepatitis B, when you travel take the following precautions:
  • There is a vaccine for both hepatitis A and B
  • Do not have unprotected sex
  • Avoid any medical or cosmetic procedure that breaks the skin (tattoos, piercings, acupuncture)


Malaria prevention tips

Malaria is a serious infection spread by mosquitoes in certain parts of the world (e.g., South America, Africa and South Asia).
  • There are medications you can take that can help prevent malaria
  • Protect exposed skin with clothing
  • Wear light-coloured long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active
  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET
  • Use a treated mosquito net


Travelers’ diarrhea

Travelers’ diarrhea is caused by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated, usually with bacteria. It is a common condition seen in travelers (see map), so take these precautions:

  • Make careful food and beverage choices
  • Ask your doctor about vaccines for travelers’ diarrhea and cholera and antibiotics for travelers’ diarrhea
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water before eating

Children & travel health

Children have special travel health issues to consider. Here are some treatment approaches:

  • Motion sickness
    • Dimenhydrinate (ages 2 and up), given 1 hour before travel and then every 6 hours as needed
    • Scopolamine patch (ages 12 and up)
  • Earache (from air travel)
    • Gum chewing
    • Blowing against a plugged nose
    • Decongestants are not recommended
  • Dehydration
    • Children dehydrate faster than adults
    • Avoid any strenuous activity for days after arriving in hot/humid destination; avoid activity when sun is strongest; drink plenty of fluids
    • Try sports drinks with carbohydrates and sodium

Trusted resources

Travel Kit Checklist:

Travel Health Clinics in Canada (certified to meet international requirements for yellow fever vaccination):

Travel Reports and Warnings (search by country):

To Do: Make an appointment with your doctor, a travel health clinic, or the Pharmacist at Walmart at least 3 months before your trip. Ask about travel vaccinations and medications.

Important information

Visit with the Pharmacist at Walmart to prepare so you stay healthy on your trip. Just ask!

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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