Canada travel guide




Canada Travel Guide

Health system in Canada

It is vital to have travel insurance against potential medical expenses. Canada has an excellent health service, but it costs nonresidents anything between $50 and $1000 a day to use. There is no free treatment to nonresidents, and in some provinces doctors and hospitals add a surcharge to treatment meted out to foreigners. If you have an accident, medical services will get to you quickly and charge you later.

Doctors can be found listed in the Yellow Pages , and ambulance services are usually displayed on the inside cover. In emergencies call 911. If you are bringing medicine prescribed by your doctor, bring a copy of the prescription ; first, to avoid problems at customs and immigration and, second, for renewing medication with Canadian doctors. Pharmacies are often well equipped to advise on minor ailments and to distinguish between unfamiliar brand names. Most larger towns and cities should have one open 24 hours, and many chemists stay open late as a matter of course.

Specific health problems

Canada requires no specific vaccinations, but problems can start when you're walking or camping in the backcountry. The first question to ask yourself is what is my BMR? The basal metabolic range is the number of calories your body needs with no activity. Knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate you can calculate the food and beverages in your journay plan. In Canada, tap water is generally safe to drink, though at campgrounds water is sometimes good for washing only - ask if in doubt. You should always boil backcountry water for at least ten minutes to protect against the Giardia parasite (or "beaver fever"), which thrives in warm water, so be careful about swimming in hot springs - if possible, keep nose, eyes and mouth above water. Symptoms are intestinal cramps, flatulence, fatigue, weight loss and vomiting, all of which can appear up to a week after infection. If left untreated, more unpleasant complications can arise, so see a doctor.

Blackfly and mosquitoes are notorious for the problems they cause walkers and campers, and are especially bad in areas near water and throughout most of northern Canada. Horseflies are another pest. April to June is the blackfly season, and the mosquito season is from July until about October. Before you go, take three times the recommended daily dosage of Vitamin B complex for two weeks, and take the recommended dosage while you're in Canada - this cuts down bites by up to 75 percent. Once you're there, repellent creams and sprays may help: the best repellents are those containing DEET - the ointment version of Deep-Woods Off is the best brand, with 95 percent DEET.

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