Pharmacists' role in maintaining your health during travel

We try to prepare for everything before leaving on a trip. However, unexpected situations can arise along the way—among them, health issues are at the top of the list. Find out how your pharmacist can help you to prevent health problems from interfering with your travel plans.

Health—a valuable asset during travel

For many people, there is nothing more exciting than travelling abroad. The prospect of breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable moments bring joy to our hearts while we prepare for our journey and make a list of things to remember. Among other things, it is important to be aware of the inherent risks of the destination we are travelling to.

Some diseases are typically known to hit while you travel or once you return home. These diseases are sometimes due to a germ-related infection, such as a virus, bacteria or parasite. They can also result from an usual activity practised during a trip. The most memorable moments of a trip should never be that of medical problems!

Fortunately, several "typical" illnesses experienced by travellers can be prevented thanks to a few precautionary measures. Your pharmacist can play a pivotal role in maintaining your health during travel.

Health—a valuable asset during travel

Traveller's diarrhea

In exotic destinations, most gastrointestinal infections are contracted through ingestion of contaminated water or food, or contact with contaminated hands or objects. Although traveller's diarrhea is not life threatening, it can be very unpleasant when it occurs during travel. Most often, it results from a germ-related infection. It sometimes requires the use of an antibiotic treatment and, in rare cases, hospitalization.

The risk of contracting traveller's diarrhea varies depending on the destination. By choosing food carefully, a traveller can limit the risk of severe diarrhea. Basic hand hygiene significantly lowers the probability of being infected—washing hands well with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer are beneficial.

Of course, nothing beats prevention to avoid the unpleasantness of traveller's diarrhea. There is an oral vaccine on the market that can be taken before you leave on a trip. Your pharmacist can inform you about its advantages and inconveniences, and on how to use it. Speaking to your pharmacist will enable you to determine if the traveller's diarrhea vaccine is the right option for you. Your pharmacist can also tell you about other preventive measures.

Pharmacists can now prescribe an antibiotic treatment to be taken in the case of traveller's diarrhea. Before prescribing this type of treatment, they must ask you a number of questions during an individual consultation. They will check if you meet certain criteria and determine if it is the appropriate treatment according to your situation. It is important to note that consultation fees may apply.

Malaria

In some areas of the world, insects carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. This is the case for malaria, a potentially serious infection transmitted by a type of mosquito that bites during the night. Malaria symptoms generally appear upon returning home in travellers who have contracted the parasite during their vacation. 

When you visit a destination that has a high risk of malaria, it is important to apply certain preventive measures intended to reduce this risk. Sleeping under a mosquito net and using insect repellent can help to protect against potential insect bites. Your pharmacist can help determine which product is the most suitable for you and tell you how to use it.

Malaria is a disease that can be avoided by following a preventive treatment. The person under treatment will take one dose of medication once a day or once a week, depending on the prescribed product. Treatment will begin up to one week prior to departure and will last up to four weeks following the person's return. It is important to closely follow dosage instructions to ensure optimal protection.

Pharmacists can now prescribe a preventive treatment for malaria before you leave on a trip, if necessary. Prior to your departure, they will ask you a number of questions during an individual consultation. They will check if you meet certain criteria and determine if it is appropriate to prescribe this type of treatment depending on your situation and the destination that you will visit. It is important to note that some consultation fees may apply.

Malaria

Acute mountain sickness

Travelling at high altitudes is a challenge that many people seek. However, it is important for people venturing into the mountains to be aware that they must allow their bodies to adjust to altitude changes to avoid an unpleasant condition called acute mountain sickness. Although it does not affect everyone, some individuals are more likely to be bothered by it.

Acute mountain sickness is a temporary condition that results from inadequate acclimation to a lowered level of oxygen when a person is in high altitude. The higher a person climbs the more the total barometric pressure and the partial pressure of oxygen decrease. This lack of oxygen causes lowered physical performance, hyperventilation, and symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, vertigo, headaches, and dizziness.

There is no need to be overly concerned if you take the necessary precautions. Ideally, learn more about preventive measures before your departure. You should also be able to recognize the onset of acute mountain sickness symptoms, so you can adjust and prevent them from getting worse. Being well-informed about it will prevent your fun from being spoiled.

Pharmacists can now prescribe a preventive treatment for acute mountain sickness, if necessary. Prior to your departure, they will ask you a number of questions during an individual consultation. They will check if you meet certain criteria and determine if it is the appropriate treatment according to your situation. It is important to note that consultation fees may apply.

Vaccination

Getting vaccinated in preparation for a trip is an important issue. The decision to get vaccinated or not can have significant consequences. Vaccines protect us from certain germs that can cause transient or irreversible damage. Some destinations carry a particularly high risk of infectious diseases such as hepatitis, yellow fever, and typhoid fever.

The nature of the vaccines you should receive depends on several factors, including your vaccination history, age, health, lifestyle, destination, and travel conditions. Pharmacists are knowledgeable healthcare professionals who know a lot about vaccines. They can help you to make informed decisions by determining what vaccines are recommended in a particular travail context.

For additional information on the subject, read the following texts: Vaccination and travel and Viral hepatitis.

Additional information

Here are other examples of things that pharmacists can do to help you prepare for a trip. They can:

  • recommend an effective sunscreen
  • help you prepare a travel health kit
  • explain what to do in the case of a minor injury
  • recommend over-the-counter products for nausea, motion sickness, stomach aches, diarrhea, dehydration, allergies, swimmer's ear, etc.
  • give you a list of your medications

Before wishing you a safe trip, we suggest that you read the following texts:

×

Send to a friend

Pharmacists' role in maintaining your health during travel

We try to prepare for everything before leaving on a trip. However, unexpected situations can arise along the way—among them, health issues are at the top of the list. Find out how your pharmacist can help you to prevent health problems from interfering with your travel plans.
From:
To:

Loading...