Our nation’s “Neighbor in the North”, Canada, is a beautiful and rugged land that has a deep history. It is visited by 35 million tourists each year, or roughly the population of Canada itself. Whether you are a skier, history buff, or just a sightseer, there is no doubt you will enjoy your stay across the border. But in order to enjoy your trek to the fullest, you should check your immunization history and be sure you are protected.
You should also plan to have all your immunizations completed at least 4-6 weeks prior to travel. Vaccines need ample time to become fully effective, and you may not have full protection if you wait too long. Even if you are not sure the immunizations will be done in time, get them anyway. It is better to have some protection than none at all. You should also let your healthcare provider know if you will venture to any other countries in your travel plans. There may be other treatments or boosters that you might benefit from.
If you are not currently up to date on your booster shots or initial vaccines for the most common diseases, you should definitely get your diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus vaccine. Also, be sure you are protected with a polo virus shot, as polio is still very active in other countries. Measles, mumps, and rubella are not uncommon either, so this vaccine should be included in your regimen of preventive healthcare measures.
You may be venturing into some smaller, more rural towns, and you may come into contact with stray animals. A rabies vaccine is recommended for anyone who may hike, mountain climb, or camp out of doors. Many animals in the wild can and do carry the rabies virus, and all it takes is one minor scratch or bite to contract it. Rabies is also deadly if not arrested in time, and traveling to Canada is no guarantee that a rabies shot will be readily available to you. Don’t take chances if you are unsure; you should go ahead and get the vaccination.
Hepatitis B can also be a disease that you might possibly encounter while traveling within the Great White North. Anyone who has unprotected sex with an HBV carrier is in danger of falling ill. The only real way to limit your exposure is to abstain from sex, but if you must, be vaccinated and use protection, such as prophylactics.
Since the Hepatitis B virus is spread via bodily fluids, it can also be found in hospitals or can be caught while hunting, fishing, or a number of activities most tourists enjoy. If you are injured while visiting, you may have an urgent need for medical treatment, and not all hospitals in other countries have the same sterilization techniques and standards that our hospitals do.
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Traveling outside of USA and concerned about your health? Travel vaccinations are recommended for many destinations. Find out about the requirements and talk to a physician.
Your healthcare provider can advise you on your plans and protections, or you may call us with your questions. We would be happy to provide any immunization services you may need, or any consultations. If possible, get your vaccines 4 to 6 weeks before your trip in order to insure they are active in your immune system.
Get your booster shots, initial and series vaccines, expert health advice for travelers and preventative treatments from our travel clinic. Contact Dr. Gafanovich’s office to make an appointment today.