Health advice for travellers in Canada

You do not require any special inoculations for travelling to Canada, however, if you require a visa to enter there may be special health requirements. You should check this when applying for your visa. As with all travel, you may require booster shots and it can be worth while going to your family doctor for advice.

Ensure your teeth are ok. Dentistry is not included in most medial insurance and can be costly in Canada. Bring a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses if you require them. If you lose or damage the only ones you have, finding a replacement can take time and be expensive.

If you take any medication of any kind, be sure that you have enough to last your trip. Some medication you use may not be available in Canada or they may have a different kind.

A basic medical first aid kit is recommended to be included and brought with you when trekking, biking or when you are participating in any potentially harmful activity.

When outside sunburn can be common even in the cold winter weather. Make sure you are protected from the sun in all weather.

Sun reflecting from the snow can cause 'snow blindness'. Sunglasses with UV protection should be worn when outside in the snow and during days of strong sunlight.

The cold can also cause damage. Your skin can be dried out and result in chaffing and dehydration of the skin. This can be a painful experience and it is recommended to use chap stick and skin moisturiser for exposed skin in cold and windy weather.

Be aware of frostbite in the cold. This is caused by a combination of low temperature and wind, known as wind chill. Check the weather forecast before setting out for local information, which will usually comment, about frostbite if it is an issue. Fingers, toes, nose and ears are the most common places for frostbite. Wearing sunglasses increases the chance of frostbite on the ears so cover up with a good hat.

Having a light snack before and during travel can reduce motion sickness. Being in the middle of a bus, the centre of a boat and near the wing of a plane can all help to reduce the feeling of motion sickness. Fresh air also helps but reading does not. If you are prone to motion sickness or are going on a journey where it might affect you, taking motion sickness medicine before the journey commences is recommended. This usually has to be taken an hour before.

Altitude sickness can affect people in areas of high elevation due to the lack of oxygen. This can be a serious and sometimes fatal illness. Drink as much fluids as possible and eat high-carbohydrate meals for extra energy. Do not ingest alcohol or sedatives or anything that may increase the risk of dehydration. When mountain climbing seek advice on altitude sickness from a local ranger.

It is safe to drink water from the tap anywhere in Canada unless otherwise stated. Do not drink water from lakes or rivers unless you boil it thoroughly for at least 5 minutes. Filtering will not remove all of the organisms. It is recommended to buy bottled water, which is available from anywhere that sells drinks.

Diseases in Canada are similar to the rest of the western world. STDs, HIV and AIDS are all serious issues in Canada and precautions should be taken. Rabies is not a large problem in Canada but some foxes, raccoons, and coyotes are infected and do come into the cities or to camps. Diseases and infections can be caused by ticks and organisms in the water so be aware of this.

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