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Travel Health Warning Following Earthquake In Haiti

Posted Jan 27 2010 12:00am
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel to Haiti following a major earthquake.

Avoid all nonessential travel to Haiti.

If you must travel to Haiti;

The following vaccines are required with a certificate of immunization:
  1. Hepatitis A + B
  2. Influenza A H1N1
  3. Typhoid Fever
  4. Tetanus Diptheria
  5. Polio
  6. MMR
Be Prepared:

  • Make sure you are up-to-date with all of your vaccinations;
  • Bring a travel first aid kit which could include:
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen (Advil and/or Tylenol) for pains and fevers;
  • Anti-diarrhoeal medication, laxatives, antacids, and oral rehydration salts for upset stomachs;
  • Anti-histamines for allergies, cough suppressant and/or drops for throat and chest irritations;
  • Anti-malarial pills or other prescribed medications -- remember to bring copies of your prescriptions;
  • Basic first aid supplies such as gauze, bandages, ointments for cleaning wounds, hand sanitizer, etc.
Follow safe food and water precautions as there will be increased risk of food and waterborne diseases such as travellers’ diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and leptospirosis (if travelling via Dominican Republic):

  • Always wash your hands before eating and drinking.
  • Eat only food that has been well cooked and is still hot when served. Avoid uncooked foods, especially shellfish and salads.
  • Drink and use ice from only purified water that has been boiled or disinfected with chlorine or iodine, or commercially bottled water in sealed containers. Carbonated drinks, including beer, are usually safe.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Avoid food from street vendors.
  • Avoid swimming in polluted or contaminated water.
  • Brush your teeth with purified or bottled water
  • Protect yourself from insects and animals
Insect borne and animal diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, lymphatic filariasis as well as rabies are risks in Haiti

To protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • Cover up: Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved, tucked-in shirts, long pants, shoes (not sandals), and a hat;
  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin. Insect repellents containing DEET are the most effective;
  • Sleep under a bed net, preferably treated with insecticide;
  • Consider your accommodations: Stay in a well-screened or completely enclosed air-conditioned room;
  • Apply a permethrin insecticide to tents and clothing and other travel gear for greater protection
See a health care provider to discuss:

  • Appropriate anti-malarial medication and other precautions to take while in Haiti
  • Other recommended vaccines such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and H1N1 flu
  • How to protect yourself and what to do if you think you have become exposed to other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and anthrax, all of which are widespread in Haiti.
Be aware:

-Access to adequate medical care in Haiti will be very limited

-There will be limited or no commercial accommodation available.

Don't Forget..

  1. Consult a doctor, nurse or health care provider, or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel.
  2. What to do if you get sick when you are travelling.
  3. What to do if you get sick after you return to Canada.
  4. Know what vaccines to get and when to get them.
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

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