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Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean
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Protect your health when visiting islands in the Indian Ocean

Whether you are in search of a romantic, restful break on a palm-fringed shore or a scuba diving adventure, the coral seas of the Indian Ocean have much to offer.

Can I drink the tap water on islands?

Some islands have a water supply that is not up to Canadian standards. You may be advised to get shots for illnesses like typhoid and hepatitis A. Take local advice and plan your safe water sources. Hotels should provide a supply of filtered water, or you can rely on factory-sealed bottles.

The microorganisms that cause hep A and typhoid can also be picked up from food, so take normal travellers’ precautions. We’ve got some tips for you in our article on Food-borne diseases.

How can I stay safe while diving in the Indian Ocean?

You should protect your feet from coral cuts by wearing reef shoes. Even quite trivial wounds can take a long time to heal in the tropics and there is a greater risk of infection than in Canada.

Divers should be aware of where their nearest decompression chamber is. If you are going to be a long way from such facilities, have a plan for getting help if you need it. The Government of Canada has some information about water safety abroad.

Is emergency medical care available around the Indian Ocean?

You should make sure you have adequate travel health insurance because many islands only have basic hospital facilities. This means that patients with complex illnesses will have to be evacuated.

Is it possible to obtain medication?

You may have to wait for your drugs to be brought in by boat or plane if you are visiting an island. For peace of mind, bring your own supplies. This will also avoid putting pressure on local supplies. Even basic items such as sunscreen and insect repellent can be in short supply and, therefore, expensive or hard to get hold of. Bring a good supply so that you don’t have to put your health at risk by going without.

Can I catch malaria on an island in the Indian Ocean?

Madagascar and some other islands have a risk of malaria. Other places around the Indian Ocean do not. Talk to your travel health adviser to get the most up-to-date advice. You may also need anti-malarials to cover any stops you make on your way to your destination.

Yellow fever certificates

There is little risk of contracting yellow fever around the Indian Ocean. Having said that, some islands may require you to have an international certificate of yellow fever vaccination if you have been to a place where yellow fever occurs. Talk your itinerary through with your travel health adviser to find out if this applies to you.

What other shots will I need when I go to the Indian Ocean?

Ask your travel health adviser whether you need boosters for diphtheria, tetanus and polio. You may also be at risk from hepatitis B and rabies and these will be recommended depending on where you are going and what activities you have planned. Canadian Travel Clinics can offer same-day vaccinations, so make an appointment: there’s no need to wait!