Stay Healthy & Safe During March Break Travels

With March Break right around the corner, it's wise to take steps to keep you & your family safe before, during, and after travelling abroad.

Please note: the Canadian Government has issued a Official Global Travel Advisory. They are advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Learn more here.


As you’re likely aware, there have been recent outbreaks around the world of a new coronavirus called COVID-19. This has prompted the federal government to issue certain guidelines regarding international travel. Before leaving on vacation, check these guidelines regularly for updates and be sure to discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

It's important to note that the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly and outbreaks are being reported throughout the world.

Stay up to date with the latest guidance for travellers who travelled outside of Canada.

If you have any further questions about COVID-19, you can talk with your health care provider or call 613-580-6744 to speak to a public health nurse. 

Prevent the spread of germs

To reduce the spread of germs while you're on vacation, we recommend that you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands with soap
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or with your arm, not your hand
  • When visiting densely populated areas like local markets or events, keep your distance from anyone who appears to be sick (i.e. coughing, sneezing, or other common symptoms)

Travel vaccinations 

Ensuring your vaccinations are up to date before traveling is a great way to protect yourself from illness while away. This applies to adults and children alike. You can contact your health care provider or check out Health Canada's website to learn more.

Food safety

The most common illnesses among travellers are generally caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Always take precautions with food and water to avoid getting sick, such as:

  • Only eat foods that are well cooked and served hot. Avoid food served at room temperature.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked (rare) meats and fish, including shellfish.
  • Only eat fruits and vegetables if you have washed them in safe water or peeled them yourself.
  • Avoid salads, or other items that are made with fresh produce.
  • Drink water only if it has been boiled or disinfected or if it is in a commercially sealed bottle.
  • Use ice made only from purified or disinfected water.

For more helpful tips, check out Health Canada's eat and drink safely abroad website.

Avoid contact with local wildlife 

Travelling to somewhere new often involves seeing exotic animals. While they are certainly interesting, they can also be a source of danger. Please do not feed, pet, or take selfies with wild animals when you are travelling. You could get bitten and/or scratched, and may need to visit a doctor because of risk of exposure to the rabies virus. It is also a good idea to carry insect repellent to protect yourself from insects like mosquitoes that may be carrying West Nile Virus. If venturing out into nature, be mindful of whether the areas you are exploring are suitable for ticks (i.e. wooded areas or areas with tall grasses). If so, you need to be aware of the risk of Lyme disease

Practice water safety

Many destinations will offer pools or close proximity to natural bodies of water. Please be sure to practice water safety to keep your and your family safe.

  • Always keep children within arms' reach, in and around the water. Never leave a child alone, whether it is in the bathtub, a swimming pool or any body of water such as rivers, lakes, or oceans.
  • Make sure children and weaker swimmers wear lifejackets or personal flotation devices (PFD) in and around the water.
  • Supervise and swim with children only when free of alcohol, drugs and distractions.
  • Keep safety equipment and a phone close to the pool.
  • Make sure that you and your family members always wear a properly sized lifejacket/PFD when in a boat.

Protect yourself from the sun

While warm beaches and sunshine are a welcome change from winter in Ottawa, exposure to the sun can come with serious health risks. Here are some steps you can take to be sun safe:

  • Apply sunscreen regularly. Your daily sunscreen and lip balm should be at least SPF30. You can find more info by checking out this great resource from the Canadian Cancer Society
  • Keep an eye on the local UV index
  • Don't forget about your eyes. Wearing sunglasses is an easy way to protect your eyes from sun damage. Learn more



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