The countdown is on! We’re just three weeks away from March Break, and for Canadians, that means a large percentage of us will be travelling down south to sunny destinations. If you’re one of the lucky ones who is getting away, have a fruity drink for me, mmmkay?
Now, you know I want you to have the BEST vacation ever, which means that *of course* you should be prepared with the information you need for #HealthyTravels. If you missed our Twitter Party last week, fear not! I’m here to share some of the most important takeaways with you today.
FACT: It is estimated that 30% to 70% of travellers who go to a tropical or subtropical region will have at least one episode of diarrhea, which may last three to five days.
I’m not trying to scare you (okay, maybe just a little). But sometimes, we need that little extra motivation to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario. And trust me, if you’re in that 30-70%, it’s definitely *the worst*.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family? Here’s a handy little infographic with some more information:
First of all, that little germadude may look cute, but he represents Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) – an important cause of diarrhea in travellers to underdeveloped countries. It’s found in foods that are not adequately cooked, as well as drinking water. And, if you eat food or drink water or ice that is contaminated with ETEC, you are at risk.
The bad news? Travellers’ diarrhea can spread very easily from person to person. If you are travelling with family, friends or work colleagues and one person contracts travellers’ diarrhea, others in your group may get it as well.
The good news? There are ways to protect yourself against Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Here’s what you need to do:
1. A few weeks before leaving for vacation, ask your doctor or a healthcare professional at a travel clinic about the health risks at your chosen destination. Disclose where you’re headed, how long you’ll be there, and what activities or excursions you’re planning on.
2. Consider the oral vaccine Dukoral, a simple way to protect yourself against ETEC. It is available without a prescription for all family members aged 2 and older; however, you should always talk to your doctor or pharmacist first to see if a vaccine or medication is right for you.
3. While on vacation, make sure the cooked food you eat is served hot, and perishable foods such as cured meats and dairy are kept cold. If if doubt, don’t eat it!
4. Only drink water that is bottled, has been boiled, or is chemically treated with iodine, chlorine, or another disinfectant. Only accept drinks with ice if you are staying at a reputable resort that uses purified water.
5. Don’t share food, drinks with utensils with anyone – not even friends or family members in your travel party. ETEC is very easily spread from person to person, so practice good hygiene and wash your hands often, especially after visiting the bathroom and before eating food. And, always travel with a hand sanitizer for those times you don’t have access to soap and water.
FACT: 98% of travellers will make a dietary or beverage mistake within the FIRST THREE DAYS of their vacation, increasing their risk of contracting enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). Be smart! You should be spending your vacation on the beach, not in bed.
To all those travelling this March Break, wishing you #HealthyTravels!