10 Health Tips For Travellers

1. Consult with a Health Care Professional (in Calgary call Bowmont Travel Clinic)

2. Acclimatize and Prepare

3. Protect yourself from insects (use 30% DEET and sleep under a premethrin treated bednet)

4. Wear protective footwear

5. Ensure that your water is purified. In Calgary you can buy Pristine at Bowmont Travel clinic.

6. Consume well cooked food

7. Wash it, peel it or forget it

8. Remember your prophylactics (both latex and antibiotic Rx, the latter in Calgary you can get at Bowmont Travel Clinic)

9. Avoid swimming in fresh water

10. Consider carefully your means of transportation

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Why is DEET in Canada only 30%

When Health Canada decided that 30% DEET was what they would allow in Canada there was a big uproar amongst travel clinics. However, all of the studies show that any thing over 30% does not increase the protection.  The issue with higher dosing (up to 99%) was some incidence of seizure and neurological response.  When they looked back at the individual cases of seizure, even among children, they found that almost all of them already had a medical history of seizure or with children the parents were practically dipping their kids in high concentration DEET. So, I think the bottom line is, no one needs any thing over 30% DEET but if they do use higher %s they should follow the instructions for when to reapply. Since the biggest issue with insect repellents is getting people to reapply I think that 80 % DEET is likely not going to cause a problem.

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Meningitis Vaccine in Calgary

Saudi Arabia is very strict about the paper work surrounding your  meningitis vaccine.  It must be a quadrivalent ACYW135 and you must have pretty official looking documentation.  A letter from your family MD likely will not be good enough.  Bowmont Travel Clinic in Calgary has the vaccine in stock and provides official documentation.

If you are travelling to Saudi Arabia you should book an appointment with Bowmont Travel clinic.

For more information on recommendations for Saudi Arabia follow the link.


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Cost of Vaccines

Are Vaccines expensive in Calgary

Just had a fellow back from the USA where he got his second rabies vaccine.  Rabies is a series of 3 vaccines 0, 1, 3 weeks apart.  Because he was going to be in the US when his second was due he decided to get it there.  At Bowmont Travel Clinic in Calgary we charge $200.00 each for the rabies vaccine.  The clinic in San Diego wanted $470.00 for the one dose. I guess our prices are reasonable here in Calgary. For our price list follow the link.


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Probiotic and Travel

Why lose even one day of your precious holiday to the toilet in your hotel room!

At Bowmont Travel Clinic we recommend the probiotic Florastor to all of our travellers.  It is one more “gun in the arsenal” against traveller’s diarrhea. I recently spoke with a gastroenterologist about the value of this and his advice was for us to continue with this advice.  His thoughts were that anyone with any kind of gut issue should use both Florastor and Dukoral (an oral vaccine against e-coli) as well as common sense eating and drinking.  He also mentioned that there are people out there with “an iron gut” and likely they would not get into any kind of trouble no matter what they do but once they do get traveller’s diarrhea they will forever be prone to getting it again.

There is also a study available that shows people who get traveller’s diarrhea are more likely to develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  This can be a life altering disease for some people so you may want to think about doing every thing you can to prevent a bout of traveller’s diarrhea.

You can buy Florastor and Dukoral at Bowmont Travel Clinic without a prescription. For more information check out the links below.



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Influenza Vaccine and the Traveller

Public Health recommends that all Canadians over 6 months of age should get a flu shot every year.  For travellers it is even more important.  Think about sitting in an airplane for several hours with 300 other people and then standing in line at customs for another hour or so with even more people added to the mix. If you are on a cruise the numbers are even greater.

The problem with having flu away from home is that you are away from home and all those comforts. Also, you just paid big dollars to lie on a beach and you can’t even get out of bed or enjoy the all-inclusive food.  Just because you didn’t want another needle. It isn’t even the cost in Calgary any more because flu vaccine is covered by health care.

Remember too that the flu season is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.  At Bowmont Travel Clinic we offer the flu vaccine year round and the traveller who missed getting it in the Fall should certainly get one before they travel.

Here is great link to learn about influenza and the vaccine.


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Needlephobic in Calgary

Are you terrified of needles?

If you live in Calgary or within driving distance we can help you at Bowmont Travel Clinic. Every once in a while we will see a client who is so terrified of needles that it takes literally hours to get them to remain still so that we can administer the vaccine. Because everyone eventually needs to get an injection, blood drawn or an IV started this is a terrible problem.

What do we do at Bowmont Travel clinic? We have a great pyschologist who has worked with phobias in the past and has now helped us out with our needlephobic clients.  The client would meet with the psychologist for at least 2 sessions, then the 3rd session one of our great RNs would join in and hopefully be able to give at least 1 injection. Next appointment would be with our RN again and the remainder of the injections given. By this time the client has learned some new coping skills and the appointment goes smoothly.

We have worked successfully with several of our Travel Clinic clients and are confident that we can help anyone who wants to be helped.

Visit our web page to learn more about Bowmont Travel Clinic. http://www.bowmonttravel.ca/

Call us at 403-247-0787 if you would like to talk to someone about getting this kind of help.

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Assistance for Canadians Abroad

Did you know that you can register with Foreign Affairs when you are travelling outside of Canada? This is a quote from their web page:

“We offer a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that we can contact and assist you in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform you of a family emergency at home.”

We think this is an excellent idea for all travellers.  You never know when something awful is going to happen and now you know that your country will at least be looking for you. Safety should always be foremost when you travel.  Some of the things you can do before you travel is to be certain that you have all of the recommended vaccines, that your travel insurance is up to date and that someone knows your itinerary.  Finally, register with Foreign Affairs and to make it easy here is the link:


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Are Travel Vaccines Covered by Insurance?

Yes and No! Alberta Health Services has never covered any services related to travel. This includes the consultation and the vaccines. Because of this we bill you, the traveller, for all of our services and vaccines.

You can then submit your receipts (the DIN numbers are included) for all vaccines to your insurance company if you have prescription coverage. Most companies cover most vaccines.  However, there are some policies that are very narrow in scope and may not be as generous so check with your insurer if that is going to be a problem for you.

The consultation is usually not covered by this type of insurance unless you have a “buffet” style health program that covers uninsured health services. These types of programs are becoming more popular.

It is worth while checking with your insurer to see if you can get reimbursed. It is not a good idea to not get vaccinated because of the cost. Several vaccines are good for years and some for life so when spread out over many vacations it makes them quite cheap. It is also very sad when someone gets a vaccine preventable disease that results in a  ruined vacation or lost time at work.

Consider vaccines an investment in a healthy life. Visit our web page for vaccine prices. http://www.bowmonttravel.ca/fees.htm

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Meningitis Vaccine in Calgary

Alberta Health Services has announced that they will be starting a vaccine program for all students in Grade 9.  What about teenagers from Grade 10 and up?  Do they need to be vaccinated as well?  Of course they should be vaccinated but AHS has to start somewhere and Grade 9 seems to make sense because they are doing Tetanus/Diptheria at that time as well.

According to The Public Health Agency of Canada there are over 1000 cases of meningitis reported in Canada every year. That may not seem like a big number but it is a bit of a downer if it is you or a family member.

Because meningitis is transferred by saliva we see spikes of incidence in the toddler age (they share spit on toys) and the teenager (they share spit as well just not on toys).  What can you do as a parent; get your child vaccinated with a quadravalent meningitis vaccine even if you have to pay for it.

You can book an appointment at Bowmont Travel Clinic without a referral for a meningitis shot. For more information click on the link. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/vpd-mev/meningococcal-eng.php

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