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Protecting Your Health

This photo shows the torso of a doctor, holding a family of paper dolls, in a symbolic gesture of protection.

Get prescriptions refilled and check vaccinations.

If you want to stay healthy on vacation, read this article for expert tips.

There aren’t many exotic diseases in North America, so don’t be too worried about traveling here. But that said, even though the risk is low, be sure to talk to your family doctor about the types of vaccinations that you and your family might need, before you travel internationally.

Your doctor can give you advise based on your current health and evaluate any risks. At the very least, they might suggest getting booster shots for routine immunization against tetanus, measles, mumps and the like.

Personally I decided to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B. My doctor used Twinrix for this, but your doctor might suggest something different. Just be aware that you have to start this process a couple of months before you go. Otherwise the vaccine won’t have time to take effect.

Something you probably won’t need, unless you’re camping and drinking from streams is Dukoral. It’s an oral vaccine that prevents Cholera and Traveler’s Diarrhea. (At the very least you’ll want to bring Pepto Bismol, just in case you get the runs.)

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All city tap water in North America – unless compromised – is safe to drink. Well, safe in the sense that it’s treated with chlorine, fluoride and who knows what else. It may stink – tourists passing through Winnipeg or Albuquerque know what I mean – but it’s still drinkable.

If you are traveling to Mexico, or Central America, you might decide on getting the Dukoral. Even though you can boil the water and make it safe to drink, you don’t know what’s lurking outside your hotel room. Something as simple as a green salad, rinsed with local water can make you sick. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Other than that, be sure to get all your prescriptions filled. Get enough medicine for the entire time you’ll be away, plus some spares just in case. If something happens to your medication, phone your doctor immediately. Usually they can phone the nearest pharmacy, so you can get an instant replacement.

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