Use common sense and good judgment while travelling
Dear Ate Anna,
Manitoba winter is finally here! I am planning a trip to a warm place for a couple of weeks just to relax and enjoy the sun. If I’m lucky, I might even find the “love of my life”. Ate Anna, do you have any suggestions about where to go?
Where to go on a holiday is a personal preference. Ate Anna does not have any places to suggest to you, but you can go to a travel agency or search a travel website to get more information. However, Ate Anna would like you to stay healthy and safe during your holidays. Here is some travel health advice for you.
If you are planning to travel internationally - to a tropical area or a developing country, it is recommended that you consult a physician or travel health clinic. You should go at least four to six weeks before travelling so that you have enough time to complete any immunizations that may be required.
Staying healthy during travel is usually a matter of common sense. Do not eat raw food unless it has been washed with bottled water or disinfectant. Make sure that food has been cooked properly and drink bottled water, as the standard of hygiene may not be the same as in Canada. In addition, you need to take precautions with your personal lifestyle while you are travelling.
Along with a desire for unique experiences and adventure, people often feel anonymous when they travel. This tends to encourage some travellers to shed their normal social and sexual inhibitions. But remember, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur worldwide.
Sexually transmitted infections are caused by different infectious microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites. These are transmitted through semen, vaginal fluid, blood or other body fluids during sexual intercourse. Some STIs are transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact with the vagina, vulva, penis, scrotum, anus and/or mouth. Some can also be transmitted by sharing towels or bed sheets with someone who is infected. Some STIs are easily cured, but some are not. Some STIs can become a life-long problem or are life-threatening - like HIV/AIDS.
The Public Health Agency of Canada strongly recommends that travellers practise the following personal precautions to prevent the transmission of STIs.
Don’t have sex (vaginal, oral, anal) with strangers or commercial sex workers, and avoid casual sexual contacts. The person may have had multiple partners, may have had sex with an injection drug user, or be an injection drug user who shares needles. This would create a very high risk for you to become infected with a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV.
If you are going to have sex with a new partner, use latex (or if allergic, polyurethane) condoms consistently and correctly for every sexual contact. Before leaving home, pack your own supply of high quality latex condoms.
Drink alcohol in moderation. Too much alcohol seriously impairs a person’s judgment and encourages risky or dangerous behaviour.
While travelling, or after your return, you need to see a doctor if you notice any changes in your health, such as:
Discharge from the genitals
Burning feeling when urinating
Sores, particularly in the genital or anal areas
Itchiness around the genitals or anus
Appearance of a rash
Swollen glands in the groin
Sudden onset of flu-like symptoms
These symptoms might appear alone or in combination. If you do not get any of these symptoms but you had sex without a condom while you were away, you should go to your doctor and ask for an STI/HIV test.
Michael, travelling and holidays can be exciting and fun. Make sure your memories are good ones by using common sense and good judgment about your own behaviour. Also, don’t forget to pack insect repellent and sunscreen in your luggage.
Ate Anna welcomes your questions and comments. Please write to: Ate Anna, Suite 200 – 226 Osborne St. N., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3CBroadway, Winnipeg MB R3C 1V4 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org