Healthy travel is the first step to a successful journey. Before packing your suitcase and once you get to your destination, follow these little precautions that may well save you a lot of trouble!
Many diseases can be prevented with vaccines. Once you have chosen your destination, go to a travel health clinic to find out which vaccines are required or recommended. A specialist will determine your needs based on several criteria (vaccination history, age, health status, type of trip and, of course, destination). Several pharmacies also offer this service. To get an overview of what will be offered, consult the list of vaccines established by the government for each country visited.
It is preferable to undertake this process 6 to 8 weeks before leaving. You will receive complete protection. In case of an early departure, consult a specialist: some vaccines or preventive drugs can be administered even the day before your departure.
Are you 60 years old or older? In order to prevent health problems abroad, you must take additional precautions regarding vaccination.
Bring a list of your medications – whether prescription or over-the-counter – and the natural health products you are taking. Your pharmacist can produce this list. This will ensure that emergency services have all the information they need if an incident occurs while travelling.
Plan an additional provision of one week. You will not have to buy medicines locally if your return is delayed, for example. In the West, drugs are similar, but they are not quite the same. In the East, several deaths have occurred due to counterfeit medicines. So don’t take any risks and have yours.
Keep your medications in their original containers. Make sure you have the original label of your prescription. If necessary, you will be able to prove to customs officials that your medicines are necessary.
Finally, put your medication in your carry-on baggage. If your suitcase transported in the hold is lost or arrives late, you will at least be sure to have your medication.
Need a medical certificate?
If you need to use syringes for your treatments, ask for a medical certificate stating that they are for medical and personal use: you will have to present it to customs. For safety reasons, it is very likely that the carrier will not allow you to bring your syringes in your carry-on baggage. Do the pre-check. Make sure you have enough syringes, as it will be difficult to get them during your trip. Also, have a medical certificate if your medications contain narcotics.
The first aid kit: a must
Prepare a complete first aid kit. A well-stocked kit should include:
- adhesive tapes
- immobilization sling
- antibacterial hand sanitizer
- antibiotic ointment
- antihistamine drug
- oral rehydration solution
Attention: objects such as scissors and nail files are not allowed in the aircraft cabin.
Your travel insurance
Get travel insurance adapted to your situation. There is a range of flexible coverage to suit every type of trip and traveller. A travel or insurance advisor can identify your needs and guide you.
Travelling despite the illness
It is often possible to obtain travel insurance coverage despite an existing illness. Many insurers offer to have your doctor complete a medical questionnaire or conduct a telephone assessment. In some cases, when the disease is under control, it can be covered. It’s worth checking out!
SOS travel assistance
Always carry your travel insurance assistance card with you. Also, give a copy of this card to your travelling companions and a relative. You and your family and friends should always have quick access to the phone number to contact in case of problems.
Traveller’s diarrhea, typhoid and hepatitis A are contracted by absorbing contaminated food or water. And staying in a grand hotel doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be safe. Some cautious actions are required:
- Drink water from well-sealed containers and ice-free drinks.
- Wash your hands before meals.
- Rinse the fruit in bottled or treated water and peel it yourself.
- Cook food thoroughly and eat it hot.
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, ice cream, raw vegetables, salads and foods sold by street vendors.
- Brush your teeth with bottled or treated water.
Beware of rage! The virus is transmitted by the bite or scratch of an animal carrying the disease, such as a dog, cat, bat or monkey. It is therefore advisable not to feed or touch the animals. What to do in case of injury?
Clean the wound with soap and water for 15 minutes.
- Apply a disinfectant.
- Then go to a medical clinic as soon as possible.
Mosquitoes can transmit certain diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Zika (pregnant women, be careful!) and yellow fever. Some advice if you are going to a high-risk country:
- Protect yourself with an insect repellent based on DEET concentrated at 30%, which lasts about 4 to 6 hours, or icaridin concentrated at 20%, which lasts 9 to 10 hours. Put on this mosquito repellent 20 minutes after sunscreen.
- Wear long, light and light-coloured clothing.
- If you have opted for accommodation that is open to the outside, and not very waterproof during a mosquito “raid”: sleep in a bed covered with an insect repellent net that you will wedge under the mattress.
In some countries and continents, such as South America, Africa and India, freshwater can be infested with parasite larvae. These can penetrate the skin and cause serious illness. Ban swimming and walking in lakes, rivers or standing watercourses, even if the water is clear and you see local residents soaking in it. However, diving in the ocean or in chlorinated pools is safe.
Security: official, up-to-date information
Is your next destination safe? Are there any behaviors that should be avoided in the area visited? To find out, consult the government’s travel warnings and advisories.
Precautions to take when traveling to a high-risk country !!!