Tips & info from Osler experts

Nutrition / Education / Health & Wellness / Safety & Prevention

Five things you should think about before travelling

Travelling abroad is one of the most thrilling and exciting adventures to embark on, but it can also pose some health risks. When visiting another country there's lots to be cautious of and these are some of the health-related things you'll want to think about before you jet off.

Basic First Aid Kit

Even if your suitcase is stuffed to the brim find a way to fit this in. You never know when you may need something as simple as a Band-Aid, especially if you’re not close to health care or it’s not available. When travelling you can’t rely on care to be the same as in Canada, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared to prevent infection.

Immunization Shots


You’ve researched your accommodations and all the sights, but don’t forget to research the country you’re visiting. Some countries put you more at risk of acquiring infections, but there are many vaccines offered before you leave to help prevent them. Health Canada is a great place to start when looking into the country you want to visit and what health precautions to take.

Drinking Water

In some countries it’s better to rely on drinking bottled water and avoid the tap completely. Drinking clean filtered water is the best way to avoid the bacteria and parasites that can cause waterborne diseases. If the water is unsafe to drink that also means you should be cautious when using ice, brushing your teeth and singing in the shower.

Traveller’s Diarrhea

Avoid wasting away your vacation on this one. Before you leave, consult with your doctor about any preventative measures, including vaccinations. The best thing to do is to be careful about what you eat. Try to avoid foods that are undercooked, uncooked or can’t be peeled. Make sure to stay away from street foods and remember that hot, well-cooked food is the best option.

The Sun

Wherever you are visiting the sun will follow, so be prepared to cover up! Make sure to wear a hat with a wide brim to cover your head, face, ears and neck. These are the areas that need extra protection, so don't forget sunglasses and to lather up on sunscreen. If you're out in the sun for most of the day, bump up the SPF to 30 and reapply after swimming or sweating.