January 28th, 2013

Travelling during flu season—5 tips for staying healthy


Boarding passes and hotel reservations? Check. Bathing suit and sunscreen? Check. The flu? No thanks!

Travelling during flu season is almost impossible to avoid. In the northern hemisphere the season usually runs from November to April, in the southern hemisphere between April and October, and in the tropics the flu is a year-round concern.

The flu (Influenza) is a common, infectious respiratory disease that begins in your nose and throat. It is highly contagious and can spread rapidly from person to person. Strains of it circulate every year, and symptoms typically start with a headache, chills and cough, followed rapidly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children. If you are over 65 with a chronic condition like diabetes or cancer, there is a higher risk the flu may lead to other health complications like pneumonia.

How can you avoid the flu before and during your travels?

The Public Health Agency of Canada has some tips to help you prepare—and hopefully avoid—contracting the flu before you leave on your winter vacation.

1) Get vaccinated—this is the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu. Ask your London Drugs Pharmacist about flu vaccinations. You can find your nearest location here.
2) Avoid getting or spreading the flu to others—the best way to do this is to wash your hands frequently. Use soap and warm, running water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based sanitizer can also be used if soap and water are not readily available. Keep some in your pocket or purse when you’re travelling.

3) Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette—cover your mouth and nose with your arm, not your hand, to reduce the spread of germs. If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.

4) Avoid contact with people who appear to be sick—we Canadians are a friendly bunch, but giving an obviously sick individual a bit more space will help minimize the spread of germs.

5) Attend a London Drugs Travel & Immunization Clinic —six weeks before you travel, visit one of our 12 travel clinic pharmacies to make sure you’re vaccinated, your prescriptions are up to date, and your travel kit is fully stocked.


What should I pack in my travel kit?

You should always travel with a basic first aid kit packed in your luggage, because even a relaxing day on holiday could leave you with pesky blisters or mild dehydration. Here are some recommended items to pack along to keep maladies or injuries at bay during your vacation:

  • .5% hydrocortisone cream for minor skin irritations
  • Adhesive bandages and tape
  • Anti-baterial and anti-fungal spray or cream to prevent infection
  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Blister pads or moleskin
  • Disposable latex gloves
  • First-aid quick reference card
  • Gauze
  • Oral rehydration salts to treat dehydration caused by diarrhea
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers

If you’re travelling to regions with specific health concerns (ie. malaria, high-altitude sickness or motion sickness) ask your London Drugs Pharmacist what medications you should obtain and bring with you.

With a little advance planning and preparation, you’ll make sure your holidays are mostly thrills, and hardly any “ills”!


London Drugs Fan

Nala Henkel, a former employee and current contract proofreader for London Drugs, is a self-confessed fan of our store. We’ve invited her to share her quirky perspective on all things London Drugs from a consumer’s point of view.

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