15 September 2023

How to protect yourself against hepatitis while traveling

Article written by: Bianca Cloutier-Lamoureux

In some countries, unhygienic conditions can increase the risk of contracting certain diseases, such as hepatitis. Before your departure, it is important to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of contamination. Here are some tips to follow to reduce your chances of contracting hepatitis while traveling.


What is hepatitis?

All five forms of hepatitis result from virus infections affecting the liver, each triggered by a different virus. However, hepatitis A and hepatitis B are the most commonly found in travelers. Hepatitis A is transmitted through contact with the stool of an infected person, or through water, raw or contaminated food. For its part, hepatitis B is transmitted during unprotected sexual relations, injection drug use, tattoo sessions, and through the use of personal objects such as razors, manicure tools, or unsterilized medical equipment.


How to prevent

Fortunately, hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination. However, no preventive treatment is possible for other forms of hepatitis.

In order to protect yourself against hepatitis A and B when traveling abroad, here are some measures to follow:


  • Avoid destinations considered to be at risk;
  • Practice good hand hygiene before consuming food or drinking;
  • Opt for bottled drinks or water;
  • Avoid drinks with ice cubes;
  • Avoid brushing your teeth with tap water;
  • Opt for fruits with peels, for example: bananas, kiwi, oranges, clementines, etc.;
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products;
  • Opt for well-cooked meat;
  • Be careful with seafood consumption;
  • Do not share personal items with other people;
  • Avoid sessions of: tattooing, piercing, acupuncture.


What are the symptoms ?

Hepatitis is asymptomatic in most people, some people have symptoms, such as:

  • A generalized feeling of unease;
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain;
  • Fatigue ;
  • Fever ;
  • Insomnia;
  • Dark urine;
  • Yellowing of the skin;
  • Depression.

What are the treatments

Currently, there is no treatment for hepatitis A. People affected recover within a few weeks.

Conversely, most individuals infected with hepatitis B recover, but some (10% of adults) will become chronic carriers.

Take precautions

By carefully planning your trip abroad, the majority of problems encountered while traveling can be avoided. Not only will you have peace of mind, but you will avoid serious repercussions on your health. In addition, we remind you of the importance of obtaining a travel insurance policy before your departure.

For more information, call one of our certified representatives at 1-888-211-4444, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.


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When should I purchase it?

We strongly recommend that you purchase coverage before departure. Although some of our insurers will cover you if you are already on your trip, they may exclude any pre-existing medical conditions, limit the amount payable on your policy or impose a large deductible.