Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Mass gatherings, including sporting events, festivals, concerts, religious events, political rallies or demonstrations, bring together people from all over the world.
If you are planning to travel to participate in a mass gathering, there are some particular risks to keep in mind. Large numbers of people in small areas can enable the spread of infectious diseases and increase the risk of injury. Take the time to prepare for your trip and know how to reduce the risks.
Preparing for your trip
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
- Make sure that your routine vaccines and adult boosters, including the measles vaccine and the influenza vaccine, are up-to-date. The routine schedule for childhood vaccines may need to be adjusted if a child is travelling.
- Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your health care provider or travel health clinic as there may be other vaccines to consider and other recommendations related to your destination(s).
- Check the Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination.
- Verify your destination’s security information and entry/exit requirements.
- Be aware of the most likely health risks associated with the particular gathering or event you are attending and what you can do to stay healthy and safe.
Pack a travel health kit and purchase travel health insurance.
Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service so Canadian consular officials can contact you in case of an emergency. It is a quick, simple and free service that is accessible on mobile devices.
While you are abroad
- Be aware of your surroundings while you are attending an event or gathering.
- Know that your risk of accidental injury increases in large crowds.
- Locate the exit routes and medical facilities. Avoid densely congested areas with limited emergency exits.
- Be aware of your personal safety at all times. Factors such as drug and alcohol use, heightened political tensions or religious fervour can contribute to violent behaviour. Avoid such situations and have an escape plan.
- Take precautions against illness.
- Protect yourself and others from the spread of germs and flu-like illness by washing your hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Take precautions to avoid diseases caused by food and water and insect bites, as well as infections that can be shared between humans and animals, such as rabies.
- Protect yourself from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STI).
- Make sure you understand the risks of alcohol and drugs when you travel as you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting.
- Take precautions during outdoor activities and pay attention to the weather.
- Dress appropriately for the weather.
- If you are going to a destination with a hot climate, remember to stay safe in the sun and stay hydrated. Follow water safety tips, whether at the beach, pool, snorkelling or on a boat.
- If you are going to a destination with a cold climate, be aware that the weather may vary between areas and conditions may change quickly. Take precautions to avoid hypothermia and frostbite.
- Drive with caution.
- The leading cause of death among international travellers is traffic accidents.
- Expect traffic congestion and road closures. Avoid driving on unfamiliar and/or rural roads, especially at night.
- Don’t drive if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If you need emergency assistance, contact officials at the nearest Canadian government office. If you are unable to reach the embassy or a consulate, you can contact Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
When you return
If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath upon arrival in Canada, tell a border services officer.
If you were bitten or scratched by an animal during your trip, see your health care provider and tell him or her about your exposure and any treatment you may have had.
If you are sick after you return, see a health care provider and tell him or her where you have travelled and if you received medical care while abroad.
If you develop a fever in the first three months after you return home, or within a year, and you have been to an area where malaria occurs, tell your health care provider immediately.
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