What You Need to Know About Travel Medicine
Are you up to date on your routine immunizations? Beyond the standard childhood vaccinations, there are many vaccines that are recommended for adults as well. Speak with your physician to ensure that you are up to date on all of your routine immunizations, including:
Herpes Zoster (shingles)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
There are many vaccine-preventable diseases that can be encountered while travelling abroad. Based on your destination, planned activities, and length of stay, your physician will determine which vaccines are right for you.
Hepatitis A and/or B
There are some areas of the world where you must provide proof of vaccination or prophylaxis before being allowed to cross international borders. These may include:
Quadravalent Meningococcal (Meningitis)
Malaria is endemic in many parts of the world and causes approximately 1 million deaths annually. Malaria prevention combines personal protective measures and medications. Personal protection includes measures such as clothing consisting of pants and long-sleeved shirts, and bed nets to prevent mosquito bites. If malaria medications are needed, your doctor will provide you with a prescription that can be filled at the pharmacy prior to your trip.
Food and Water Precautions
Traveler’s Diarrhea is one of the most common illnesses experienced by those travelling outside of Canada. Contaminated food or water is the most common source of this illness, and proper precautions play a large role in keeping you healthy during your trip.
Tap water should be avoided. Drinks from cans or bottles, and hot drinks such as tea are usually safe options for drinking.
Fruits and vegetables should be washed in a clean water source, and/or peeled prior to eating. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce should be avoided, as they are harder to clean.
Meat should be well cooked, and any food brought to the table should still be hot from cooking. Shellfish is one of the most common sources of illness, and should be avoided.
High Altitude Travel
Altitude sickness may be a concern for people travelling to areas that are 2,500m above sea level or higher, if they do not have time to acclimate (adjust) to their new environment. Medications are available to treat altitude sickness and should be discussed with your physician if you are travelling at high altitudes.
How Can I Access This Service?
This service is available at select Appletree Medical Centres. Appointments are required.
What to Expect During Your Appointment
Your physician will take the time to review your itinerary, planned activities, and the length of time of your stay, to determine which vaccines and medications are recommended to help keep you safe and healthy during your trip.
All vaccines are stored on site for your convenience.
After Your Appointment
We will provide you online access to your vaccination record, through your secure and confidential Patient Portal, so that you may access them from anywhere, at any time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Travel Medicine Consultations covered by OHIP?
Travel outside of Canada is considered voluntary, and as such, is not covered by your publicly funded health insurance. If you have private insurance, we recommend that you submit your receipts to be assessed for reimbursement. Coverage will depend on your individual policy.
How much does it cost?
Travel medicine service fees vary depending on the number of patients seen (individual versus family) and also vary per vaccine type. Visit our Patient Resources page to view the full list of Travel Medicine Services prices.
Do I need a referral?
I take prescription medications, are there any special procedures I should follow?
If you take any prescription medications, they should be carried with you during your travels in the original pharmacy-dispensed container, with your full name as it appears on your passport. Always bring an extra supply of your medication, in case of unexpected delays. If you require needles to administer your medication, you should carry a medical certificate from the prescribing physician documenting your need for syringes.
What happens if I get sick or injured during my trip?
All travelers outside of Canada are advised to obtain Travel Health Insurance prior to their trip. Medical care abroad can be extremely expensive, and the cost is the sole responsibility of the traveler, even if your provincial insurance plan agrees to reimburse you at a later date. The Canadian Embassy may be able to help you find medical care, but they will not cover any of the costs incurred.
What should I do if I feel ill after my trip?
Seek medical attention immediately. A fever, or any other symptoms of illness after a trip can be a medical emergency. Tell your physician immediately that you have traveled abroad, where you went, and how long you were there.
If I have completed a Travel Health Assessment and received the required vaccines and medications, can I still get sick?
While we do our best to protect you before your trip, not every illness can be prevented through vaccination or medications. During your Travel Medicine consultation, your Appletree doctor will provide you with a booklet called “Well on Your Way”. Review the guidelines included in this document for more information on personal protection measures to keep you safe and healthy during your trip.
Will I experience any side effects from the vaccines that I received today?
Most travel vaccines are generally well tolerated. Common side effects may include redness and soreness at the site of the injection. If a more serious reaction occurs, you should seek medical attention and report the reaction to the clinic.
Do I need to restrict my activity or diet after being vaccinated?
Not at all. Feel free to complete any planned activities.
I missed my appointment for my booster shot, do I need to start the series over?
While it is best to follow the schedule outlined during your consultation, a missed booster will not require that the series be started over. Call and re-book your vaccination appointment as soon as you can, and the series will continue from there.
How long are the vaccines good for?
The efficacy of each vaccine is different. Some are only good for 3 months, and some are good for your lifetime after completing the vaccination series. We recommend that you come in for a Travel Health Assessment prior to each trip, so that our trained staff and physicians can ensure that you are up to date.