travel in some regions of the world. Also
visit your doctor to get advice specific to
your unique health conditions.
“One of the biggest concerns I have when
people travel is that they are taking blanket
advice from websites,” says Jeffery. “They
go to the web and read about what they
need to travel in Thailand. But the risks
totally depend on the type of travel.
“Are you going to be staying in a five-
star hotel, or are you backpacking? Are
you eating in the hotel or buying food
from street vendors? What are your exist-
ing health conditions? Two people going
to exactly the same place for the same
length of time have very different risks.”
Jeffery adds the advice she gives her
clients is as fluid as the global situation,
which is constantly in flux. “Risks change
after natural disasters, like the Pakistan
flood or the Haiti earthquake, or infec-
tious outbreaks like H1N1,” she explains.
Remember to be aware of the food and
beverages you consume on your winter
vacation, especially in hot climates. More
than 30 percent of travellers contract
diarrhea during their vacation.
“Take precautions,” Effa stresses, add-
ing that good handwashing is essential.
“You don’t want to spend several days
of your week-long vacation recovering
Effa advises vacationers pack an over-
the-counter diarrhea medicine and an
antibiotic, like ciprofloxacin, which you
can get from your doctor before you go.
She says a moderately effective vaccine for
diarrhea is available at travel clinics, but
shouldn’t be relied on. She also recom-
B, which attacks the liver and is contracted
from contaminated food and water. a
advises his patients adopt a fitness
regime before they go on their ski vaca-
tions. For downhill skiers, he suggests
lifting weights to build leg strength. For
cross-county skiers, Wade says cardio
exercises are good preparation for the
aerobically demanding sport.
Nancy Staniland, manager of the
AHS Provincial Injury Prevention Team,
recommends downhill skiers and snow-boarders of all ages wear an appropriate
helmet (see “Kids stuff,” pg. 20). She also
says new and novice skiers can reduce
the risk of injury by taking lessons from
After the ski vacation begins, skiers
need to monitor their energy levels.
“Don’t take the last run,” Wade cautions,
admitting he knows from experience that
this is more difficult than it sounds. And
he says the third day of skiing is often
when skiers are tired and get injured.
“Take it easier on day three and get some
rest,” he suggests.
Before boarding a plane to your far-off
destination, check with AHS’ travel clinics
about country-specific health risks, the potential of contracting an infectious disease
and preventing travel-related illnesses.
These and numerous other clinics can give
you the vaccinations recommended for
“Two people going to
the same place have
very different risks.”
— Colleen Jeffery, AHS’s Calgary
International Travel Clinic