How is Influenza spread?

How is influenza spread?

Influenza is spread through the air. The virus gets in the air when someone with the disease coughs, sneezes, or even talks. People who breathe in the virus can get sick. It can also be spread by touching objects that have been coughed or sneezed on by someone with the virus.

How serious is influenza?

Most people who get sick with influenza get better. However, influenza causes about 12,200 people to be admitted to the hospital and about 3,500 deaths in Canada each year. There is a higher risk of getting complications from influenza for children 6 to 59 months of age, pregnant women, people 65 years or older, and people with chronic health problems. Complications of influenza can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, and dehydration. Influenza can also make chronic medical problems (e.g., congestive heart failure, asthma, diabetes) worse.

What are the symptoms of influenza?

The symptoms of influenza are fever of 38.5°C (101.3°F) or higher that starts suddenly, cough, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and feeling tired.People can spread (are contagious) influenza the day before they have symptoms and for 5 days after symptoms start

Taken from Alberta Health Services

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Altitude Sickness

Travellers can experience altitude sickness at destinations higher than 8,000 feet. It is important to be aware that  the best way to avoid altitude sickness is ascending gradually. Follow the following tips for acclimatization:

If you plan to travel to a higher altitude and sleep there, you can get sick if you don’t ascend gradually:

•Do not go from a low altitude to sleeping at higher than 9,000 feet above sea level in one day. Instead, spend a few days at 8,000–9,000 feet before proceeding to a higher altitude to give your body time to adjust to the low oxygen levels.
•Once you are above 9,000 feet, increase your sleeping altitude by no more than 1,600 feet per day. For every 3,300 feet you ascend, try to spend a day without ascending further.
•Do not drink alcohol or do heavy exercise for at least the first 48 hours after you arrive at an altitude above 8,000 feet.
•As an alternative, consider taking a day trip to a higher altitude. It’s less risky to take a day trip to a higher altitude and then return to a lower altitude to sleep.

Our travel consultants can prescribe medications to aid with acclimatization.

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Meningitis B Vaccine

Bexsero is now available at Bowmont Travel Clinic. Meningococcal disease is an aggressive illness that can lead to death within 24 hours of the first symptoms. About 1 in 10 of those with the disease will die despite treatment. One in five survivors suffers from devastating, life-long disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss, or limb loss. The highest rates of meningococcal disease occur in the first year of life.Meningococcal infection is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis8 – an infection of the membrane around the brain and spine1 – and sepsis – a bloodstream infection. Five main groups of meningococcal bacteria cause the majority of all meningococcal disease cases around the world – A, B, C, W-135 and Y3.
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Do I really need to get Yellow Fever?

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What is Typhoid??

Typhoid Fever is an illness cause by a bacteria called Salmonella enterica.  There is an estimated 22 million cases of typhoid worldwide each year. Did you know that travellers to southern Asia have  a 6-30 times higher risk than for all other destinations. You can get typhoid through the consumption of water and food that has been contaminated with feces of an infected person.  You may be staying at a 5 stars resort and get infected with Typhoid. How do I avoid Typhoid? Bowmont offers different Typhoid vaccines. A consultatant will help you determine which is best suited for your individual travel needs.

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Safari in Africa

When preparing to go on a safari in Africa, the travel consultant must consider a number of factors such as: what vaccines have you had, your personal health issues and medications, what are the medical issues in the country at the moment, what do you plan to do while you are in Africa, where will you go before and after safari.

Let’s say you want to go to Tanzania. Anyone travelling anywhere should have vaccines for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, Tetanus and Flu. In addition, you should have Typhoid, possibly Yellow Fever, Meningitis and Polio, Malaria medication, Dukoral (a preventative drink for traveller’s diarrhea) and/or Florastor(probiotic).

Carrying a vaccine record is highly recommended because if you get sick and go to a clinic in Tanzania, the medical staff will want to see what vaccines you have had in order to help diagnose you. You are not a good historian about what vaccines you have had when you are sick!

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Altitude with a Group

I had a mother call me the other day worried about her teenager going to Ecuador with a group of other teens lead by a very popular outdoor group.  They expected to be at an altitude of 14 to 15000 ft. The mother was worried because some of the travellers had received medication for prevention of altitude sickness, some had received medication for treatment of altitude sickness and some had none. Sounds like the 3 bears and like the 3 bears there is nothing wrong with either choice. The group was going to be acclimizing for 3 days at a lower altitude, which is the recommended time line, they were not going to be sleeping at altitude, which makes a big difference and they were with a group leader who was prepared to descend if anyone appeared to be ill, which is the number 1 treatment for altitude sickness. I told the Mother to stop worrying, tell her teenager to continue on with the original plan of taking the drug only if she developes symptoms.

This mother did a couple of things right.  She took her teenager to a real Travel Clinic before she traveled.  Our consultants are up to date on all of the recommendations for altitude travel and are trained to discuss all of the choices.  When she received conflicting information from other parents and the group leader she called the Travel Clinic back and we were able to reassure her that what she was doing for her child was the right choice. Unfortunately not all people who profess to know travel medicine keep up to date or attend conferences where they learn what the best practices are.

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Who should worry about Measles?

The CDC has recently reported 6500 cases of measles in Europe.  Most of them are in France (go figure) but Spain and the former Yugoslavia has reported their share as well. There have also been reported outbreaks in the USA.

So, who needs to worry? Any one who has not received 2 doses of vaccine in their lifetime. This includes any one born in Canada during the decade of the 70′s.  At that time we were only giving 1 dose, so check your baby immunization record to see how many you received.  If you do not have that record you can check with public health in the area that you lived from age 1 to 5. If you can not find a record of 2 doses than you should likely assume that you only had 1.

The other group is children whose parents decided against vaccine. This was a fairly safe decision as long as the child never leaves Canada because the rest of us vaccinated our children and generally the whole country has “herd immunity”. Now that those children are reaching young adulthood we are seeing them in the Travel Clinic with plans to travel the world usually on a shoe string.  This makes these people very susceptible to childhood illnesses abroad. If you fall into this category you should plan on at least 6 months to get all of the recommended vaccines.

For more information visit:

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Vaccines and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and planning on travelling it is very important that you visit a Travel Clinic. There are some vaccines that we never give to pregnant women because of the danger to the fetus.  There are vaccines that we give to pregnant women after weighing the risks to the mother over the risk to the fetus.  And there are vaccines that we give frequently to pregnant women because we know they are safe in pregnancy. The same applies to prescriptions.

If you are planning a trip and are also planning to get pregnant our advice is always stay on your birth control until you are back in Calgary. If that is not possible then get your vaccines before you get pregnant, visit a Travel Clinic and maybe alter your itinerary so that you are not at risk for some diseases that can be devastating.

Remember also that pregnant women do miscarry, or threaten to miscarry and so good travel insurance is a good idea as is an injection kit.  Bowmont Travel Clinic sells a great little kit with needles, syringe, IV tubing etc. so that you can have the local health personnel use your clean sharps if you require medical care in a third world country.

Visit motherrisk for more information:

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Are you Still Recommending Gardasil?

Absolutley! And, it is now recommended for boys and men as well. I am not sure why the males were left out when we know that the HPV virus is sexually transmitted and we know that guys have sex. If you are sexually active at any age you should ask about being vaccinated against HPV. Most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus as well as mouth cancers and genital warts.

You can call Bowmont Travel Clinic and set up an appointment for Gardasil.  A referral is not necessary.

Visit the link to get more information:

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