Travelling overseas for work or on a family vacation can be the opportunity of a lifetime, but there can also be health and safety risks.
While some may fear natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes, the real dangers affecting overseas travellers are more likely to be water, mosquitoes, and even car accidents.
According to Dr. Douglas Zeiger, Infectious Disease and Travel Medicine Specialist at New York University Medical Center and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, “If you’re going to get sick, it's probably going to be from insect bites or from contaminated water. The most common sicknesses are not tremendously exotic. They include diarrhea, typhoid, and dengue fever.”1
That’s why planning ahead is so important. Knowing how to stay healthy and safe, including getting the proper vaccinations and taking precautions, could make the difference between a good trip and a miserable one.
Make sure you have your vaccinations.
When you begin planning your trip, schedule an appointment with your doctor approximately six weeks before departing to discuss and receive the appropriate vaccines for where you are travelling.
The ideal time for immunizations is four to six weeks before departing. This allows immunity to develop. Also, some shots may need to be given in a series, which may extend over a period of a few days or weeks.
There are three types of vaccinations you may need:
Additional advice regarding your health:
In addition to your health, it is also important to stay safe.
According to the World Health Organization, injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths in travellers (90 percent), while infectious diseases only account for 2 percent of deaths.2
To minimize your risk of an accident or injury while traveling, follow these tips:
When travelling overseas, you not only need to think about what to do before you leave to stay healthy and safe, but also what precautions are essential during your stay. Specific vaccines and travel accommodations will help, but you also need to be more aware and be your own best doctor.
Always take the following precautions at any destination:
In developing areas:
When returning to Canada, you will not need to receive any special vaccines or undergo a health review. However, if you become ill, inform your doctor immediately.
When travelling far from home, the unexpected can happen. If you get hurt or become ill, receiving any kind of medical treatment can be expensive.
Prior to leaving on your trip, you should review your current insurance policy to make sure you’re covered while away. Some plans may limit coverage overseas.
If it does, you may want to consider adding the IEEE-sponsored Gateway International Insurance Plans to help protect you.
The Gateway Plans offer insurance solutions for situations where existing coverage is limited or not available outside your home country. Insurance is available for both short-term and long-term stays for members, families, and associates.
The plans offer insurance and services such as:
For more information on the IEEE-sponsored Gateway International Insurance Plans and an instant quote, visit the Travel Insurance product page.
By following these simple tips and making sure you have medical coverage in place, your time abroad will be relatively worry-free. So have a great trip!
1 “Stay-Healthy Travel Abroad Tips,” Elisabeth Eaves, 02-23-07, www.forbes.com, http://www.forbes.com/travel/2007/02/22/abroad-travel-healthy-forbeslife-cx_ee_0223healthytravel.html
2 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Health Information for International Travel 2008, http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowBookCh6-Injuries.aspx
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For a listing of specific vaccines recommended for where you will be travelling, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/