Are you among the lucky ones who spend winter down south? Certain precautions can help you prevent health issues during your stay.
Travel without health-related stress
Are you familiar with Murphy's Law? In reality, it is a sort of pessimistic adage, not a law, that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Conversely, there is also the so-called magical thinking, the school of thought that leaves no room for the possibility that things can go wrong. Somewhere in between, why not focus on something much more reliable: foresight?
Of course, no one can predict when the unexpected and health-related issues will happen. Although we cannot anticipate when something will happen, we can plan for ways to prevent them and how to deal with them. It can sometimes be difficult to deal with life's little surprises when we are far away from home, especially when they are health related. This is why we are providing eight tips intended to give you peace of mind, dear snowbirds, so that your stay in the south is as pleasant as possible.
1. See your doctor a short time before you leave.
It is recommended that you see your doctor several weeks before you leave for a long stay. Don't wait until the last minute: you may need to pass certain medical tests or adjust your medication. By planning ahead, you will have time to do what is necessary to stay healthy and fit. Don't forget to have your prescriptions refilled.
2. See your pharmacist before you leave to update your medication.
Before you leave, see your pharmacist to update your pharmacologic record. Are there medications that are no longer needed or not effective enough? Are you experiencing side effects or having trouble following through with your therapy? Your pharmacist can help you find solutions and make certain adjustments, if necessary.
3. Check the expiry date of your medications.
Take this opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinet and check the expiry date of the medications in your home. Do this for prescribed, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and natural health products (NHP). Replace them as needed. Take with you any medication that might be useful during your stay.
4. Have your medications refilled ahead of time and factor in the amounts.
Don't wait until the last minute to have your medications prepared. Some products could be unavailable or in insufficient amounts, requiring an order to be placed by the pharmacy. Make sure you have enough for the duration of your stay, and even a little longer.
5. Have your medication list printed.
Remember to ask your pharmacist for a thorough updated list of your medications, including OTC medications and NHPs. Make sure that commercial and generic names are listed, as this may make it easier for medical personnel outside of Canada, if needed.
6. Purchase travel insurance.
It is important to shop around for travel insurance. It should meet your needs and provide comprehensive coverage. Factors such as your age, health and medical history can affect costs and coverage. It is important that you understand all the terms and conditions to make an informed choice. Ask for help if you need it.
7. Get vaccinated.
Everyone 60 years of age and older can get the flu shot free of charge each year, whether they travel or not. Plan to get vaccinated before you leave. Take this opportunity to update your immunization record. Make sure you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination. Other vaccines may be necessary or beneficial, depending on the destination you are visiting. Several Jean Coutu affiliated branches offer vaccination and travel health services.
8. Prepare a health travel kit.
To leave with peace of mind, prepare a travel health kit. Since you never know what might happen, it's better to have thought of everything. First aid supplies and medications may not always be available in other countries or may be different from those in Canada. Ask your pharmacist to help you adequately stock your travel kit.
Speak to your pharmacist for additional advice and information about how to stay healthy during extended travel.