On this page:
- Inoculations and Immunizations
- General Health
- Health Concerns for Women
- HIV / AIDS
- Medical / Personal Insurance
Find out in advance if you need any special vaccinations or preventative medications for the countries you intend to visit. Sometimes it is necessary to start vaccination shots at least 3 months before you leave as you may need several inoculations.
Some countries may require you to show proof that you've received certain immunizations. This record is usually asked for when you enter the country. Your health care provider should give you an official record of your vaccinations.
You can get information from your physician and/or the Travel Clinic.
Travel Clinic in Nanaimo
The following sites have information on travel health and tropical diseases:
- Health Canada: provides travel health information for persons traveling outside of Canada.
- World Health Organization Guide to Infectious Diseases: provides facts about many tropical diseases. (www.who.int/health-topics/idinex.htm)
- Centre for Disease Control
Make sure you visit a physician for a general medical exam and obtain any special medications you require for the time you are intending to be away. Make arrangements with someone at home for a re-supply of prescriptions in case of loss or if you are away longer than expected. Keep all medication in the original, labeled containers. It is important to find out whether your medication is sold in the country where you will be residing. Also check, if it is legal.
If you need syringes for conditions such as diabetes, it is extremely important that you take an appropriate supply, along with a doctor's note stating the reasons for your use of the medication and the recommended dosage. Also, have a duplicate of your prescription.
If you have a chronic condition, a Medic Alert bracelet can be a wise investment.
Get your teeth and eyes checked. Make sure that you have an extra pair of glasses. If you wear contact lenses, bring a supply of lenses and cleaning fluid. You might even consider using disposable lenses for your overseas stay.
There are a number of special health considerations that women must keep in mind when going abroad. Yeast infections tend to occur in warm moist environments. Wearing loose cotton undergarments can guard against this. Bring appropriate medication in case a yeast infection does occur. Drinking an adequate amount of purified water can help cystitis, a urinary tract infection.
If you are traveling in a developing country, carrying a supply of tampons or sanitary napkins may be wise, as they may be unavailable or expensive.
Bring an adequate supply of contraceptive medication, as they may be unavailable in the host country. As major stomach upsets may cause your body to lost the ability absorb birth control pills, bring an adequate supply of condoms. Also keep in mind that abortion is illegal in many countries.
For more detailed coverage of women's concerns while traveling abroad, refer to DFAIT's booklet:
Her Own Way: Advice for the Woman Traveler
Be sure to take all the precautions regarding STDs and AIDs that you would normally take at home. Do not assume that products such as condoms will be readily available, or that they meet the World Health Organization standards.
It is most important to make sure you have adequate medical insurance while you are abroad. The BC Medical plan will only cover a set fee rate for health services provided outside pf the province, usually far less than what you will be charged.
When selecting emergency health insurance spend some time reading the policy to determine what is covered and excluded, whether there are deductables, and the procedure for filing a claim. If you have a pre-existing condition (any illness or condition for which you have been under treatment for in the past three months) or are over the age of 60.