Travel health: Tips for staying healthy on your next vacation

By: CAA Magazine

Author: Canadian Living


Travel health: Tips for staying healthy on your next vacation

By: CAA Magazine
Many forms of travel can cause strain on your body. We list common conditions to watch out for, include advice on how to treat yourself, and tips for seeking medical assistance before and during your vacation.

The do-it-yourself approach to travel health
The next time you feel anxious while travelling, or experience popping ears and sinus congestion from altitude change, get relief from your own fingertips. Giselle Jenereaux, a certified reflexologist and yoga instructor based in Burk’s Falls, Ont., offers tips on how to do this.

Stress: Relax your hand with your palm facing up, and let the fingers cup. Lightly rub the centre of the palm in a slow rotating motion. This technique targets the centre of the abdomen, where tension is held.

Sinuses: With your palm facing you, use your index finger and thumb to rub each finger from the base to the tip. This technique stimulates the sinuses and gets the circulation moving.

Travel health: What to do before you leave for vacation
No matter where your vacation takes you, protecting your health should be the first thing on your to-do list.

According to Dr. Jay Keystone, director of International Health Programs at University of Toronto, you should identify the kind of vacation you're going on. If it's a standard tropical vacation to the Caribbean, you can assume there's a relatively low health risk in tourist areas. However, you should visit a physician for health advice before your departure.

If it's a more exotic vacation such as Africa or India, a visit to a travel clinic is in order as destinations like these have a higher health risk.

"The three pillars of travel medicine are immunization, ways to manage malaria and ways to prevent traveller’s diarrhea," Dr. Keystone says. "Any traveller going to a developing country should have hepatitis A and B vaccines and an update of their routine Canadian immunizations, such as tetanus and diphtheria, which are needed every 10 years."

Most of us don't realize that hepatitis A can be contracted through food and water. hepatitis B can be contracted through an unsterile syringe.

Consult a physician at least one month before your departure.

Page 1 of 2 -- Planning to go on a cruise? Find out how you can take care of your health while at sea on page 2
Travel health at sea
Don't let the fear of motion sickness deter you from going on a cruise. Smoother sailing can be achieved by:

• Requesting a room close to the centre of the ship
• Getting as much fresh air as possible
• Focusing on the horizon to keep your sense of balance

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, motion sickness will often subside after two to three days.

Healthy plane travel for those with physical limitations
Having a physical disability does not have to limit your travels. And with a little preparation, your trip will go smoothly.

When booking a flight, ask as many questions as possible and make your needs known to the airline at that time. According to the Canadian Transportation Agency, carriers must ensure that reasonable arrangements are made when given at least 48 hours notice. Once these are affirmed, ask for written confirmation.

Some airlines vary their levels of service depending on the size of the plane. Staff for many airlines will assist wheelchair users in getting to and from their seats. If travelling with a service animal, check the airline's policy and always bring your animal's training certification with you. Visually impaired passengers can ask flight staff for briefing cards in large print or braille.

Always check the airline's special needs policy before booking your flight.

For more travel tips, visit

Page 2 of 2
Share X

Travel health: Tips for staying healthy on your next vacation