Before visiting Canada, you may need to get the following vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination:
If your travel plans will take you to more than one country during a single trip, be sure to let your health-care provider know so that you can receive the appropriate vaccinations and information for all of your destinations. Long-term travelers, such as those who plan to work or study abroad, may also need additional vaccinations as required by their employer or school.
Be sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date. Check the links below to see which vaccinations adults and children should get.
Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) are given at all stages of life; see the childhood and adolescent immunization schedule and routine adult immunization schedule.
Routine vaccines are recommended even if you do not travel.
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Vaccination or Disease Recommendations or Requirements for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Routine Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc. Hepatitis B Recommended for all unvaccinated persons who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment, such as for an accident, even in developed countries, and for all adults requesting protection from HBV infection.
Items to Bring With You Medicines you may need:
The prescription medicines you take every day. Make sure you have enough to last during your trip. Keep them in their original prescription bottles and always in your carry-on luggage. Be sure to follow security guidelines, if the medicines are liquids. See other suggested over-the-counter medications and first aid items for a travelers’ health kit.
Note: Check the Air Travel section of the Transportation Security Administration website for the latest information about airport screening procedures and prohibited items.
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Other Diseases Found in North America Risk can vary between countries within this region and also within a country; the quality of in-country surveillance also varies. The incidence of communicable diseases is such that they are unlikely to prove a hazard for international travelers greater than that found in their own country. There are, of course, health risks, but in general, the precautions required are minimal.
Certain diseases occasionally occur, such as plague, rabies in wildlife, including bats, raccoons, foxes, and other wild animals.
Cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome have been widely distributed in North America, with the greatest concentration in the western and southwestern United States. Infections in animals were reported in agricultural regions of the United States and Canada in 2006; infection in humans is rare.
Lyme disease is endemic in northeastern, north central (upper Midwest), and Pacific coastal areas of North America. West Nile fever was first documented in the United States (New York) in 1999 and has since spread throughout continental United States and southern Canada.
Outbreaks of diarrhea caused by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 have occurred in many areas and have increased in the past decade. Campylobacter and Salmonella are the most common causes of acute bacterial diarrhea.
Isolated cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE/mad cow disease) have been reported in Canada and the United States. For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/bse/ and http://www.usda.gov.
Outbreaks and cases of pertussis have been increasing for more than a decade.
Health Information Resources: Canada For health information on traveling in Canada, please see Canada’s Travel Medicine Program (part of the Public Health Agency of Canada),* which includes updates on current Canadian outbreaks.
Provincial and Territorial Ministries of Health* Health information on specific provinces.
Alberta British Columbia Manitoba New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador Northwest Territories Nova Scotia Ontario Prince Edward Island Quebec Saskatchewan Yukon Territory Top of Page
Staying Healthy During Your Trip Prevent Insect Bites Diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease are spread through mosquito and tick bites respectively. One of the best protections is to prevent such bites by:
Using insect repellent with 30%-50% DEET. Picaridin, available in 7% and 15% concentrations, needs to be applied more frequently. Wearing long-sleeved shirts which should be tucked in, long pants, and hats to cover exposed skin. When you visit areas with ticks and fleas, wear boots, not sandals, and tuck pants into socks. For detailed information about insect repellent use, see Insect and Arthropod Protection.
Be Careful about Food and Water Diseases from food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers. Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking:
Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol). Diseases from food and water often cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Avoid Injuries Car crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from these injuries by:
Not drinking and driving. Wearing your seat belt and using car seats or booster seats in the backseat for children. Following local traffic laws. Wearing helmets when you ride bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes. Hiring a local driver, when possible. Avoiding night driving. Other Health Tips To avoid infections such as HIV and viral hepatitis do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing, or injections. To reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases always use latex condoms. Top of Page
After You Return Home If you are not feeling well, you should get medical attention and mention that you have recently traveled.