March Break is fast approaching and many are winter-weary with plans to travel outside the country.

If you’re heading to sunshine destinations in Mexico or the Caribbean, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure you have a safe, problem-free vacation.

Pharmacist Cindy Gillam, owner of Shoppers Drug Mart locations in the Moncton area, said common illnesses such as traveller’s diarrhea and hepatitis A and B can often be prevented.

“I find people are forgetting to look at the vaccinations they need and the travel precautions they should look at before going away. Many are more worried about their luggage at this point.”

Traveller’s diarrhea, also known as Montezuma’s revenge, affects up to 60 percent of international travellers according to researchers who say it’s especially common among visitors to Mexico, Latin America, Africa and South Asia.

To protect yourself against illnesses like hepatitis A and B, Gillam said you must plan ahead since multiple vaccinations are needed weeks in advance to be effective.

Both viruses are endemic in the developing world and many popular destinations such as the Caribbean are considered risk areas.

Remember to keep in mind that if you’re heading to the tropics, the sun is very powerful and Gillam recommends using a strong sunscreen.

“At least use an SPF 30 and reapply often. It gets easy to forget because you’re in the water and having a good time. But when you get out, you need to apply that sunscreen again because water makes you even more susceptible to burning.”

If you have more health-related questions about travel, seek advice from a pharmacist or other healthcare provider.