Prepare for Adventure
The arrival of spring and longer days might have you pining for the open road and starting to plan for the summer’s big trip. But before you head off on your next adventure, Lethbridge College Nursing Education in Southern Alberta chair Karla Wolsky (Nursing ‘98) has a few tips to make sure you stay healthy and safe both while you are travelling and after you come home.
“People think they can just pack a suitcase and get away,” says Wolsky, who has taught at the college for five years. “But there is a lot more to consider – especially if you are vacationing far away from home.”
First off, she says, be smart.
“If you wouldn’t go to downtown Calgary alone at 3 a.m. on a Friday night,” says Wolsky, “then it’s probably not a good idea to do that in any other city or country.”
Next, medical insurance is a must if you are heading out of country. “You don’t want to go for a weekend in Vegas and come back with a $50,000 medical bill,” Wolsky says. A small investment before the trip may save you from huge medical bills if you need a doctor’s care while traveling outside of your country.
Then do a little research. Do you need vaccines to safely take your dream vacation? Some exotic trips may require a series of vaccinations spread out over weeks or even months before your departure. Check the Alberta Health Services website for the most up-to-date information on travelling out of the country. Vaccines can be given at the Lethbridge Community Health Centre at the old train station, by your family doctor or by some pharmacists. Alberta Health Services can also provide information on health risks and illness prevention; all required and recommended vaccines; medication prescriptions for malaria, altitude sickness and travellers’ diarrhea; follow up of all reported malaria cases; and more.
Once you arrive, be aware of the health risks you might encounter. In some countries, you will want to avoid drinking the water. That includes staying away from ice in drinks and some fresh fruits and vegetables. You also might need to use bottled water when you brush your teeth. If you are headed somewhere that is pretty off the beaten track, check in with travel agents who specialize in that area. They might be able to offer some specific suggestions to make your trip even more memorable.
And finally, Wolsky advises, be the kind of tourist you’d like to encounter at home.
“Always be aware of the culture,” says Wolsky. “Remember that when we travel, we are guests in someone else’s country.”