Guest Post by: Barbara Williams
A majority of travellers who set out to explore the world will have some kind of medical condition, however minor.
But while most will enjoy their adventures without complication, it is worth understanding the importance of taking necessary precautions so that you are fully prepared if your condition does worsen while you are away.
As a rule, anyone who is planning to travel with serious underlying health problems such as cancer or heart disease (among others) should always consult with their doctor before they travel.
But here are four other things to consider if you’re travelling with a medical condition.
Do You Need a Doctor’s Letter?
We have already mentioned the need to consult with your GP before you travel, but you may also need them to write an up-to-date letter if you intend to carry large amounts of medication or an emergency injection kit, which requires you to take hypodermic needles on to a plane. Security staff at airports are used to dealing with cases like this and so will quickly understand your situation. But if you don’t have a letter that has been signed off in the last week before you travel you could face the life-threatening situation of having that medication confiscated before you travel. Don’t put yourself in that position.
Know Where to Get Medical Care at Your Destination
You can’t do enough research and preparation on your destination. You should know where you will go if you fall ill and need to see a doctor. You and your travelling partners should also know where you would go in the event of a medical emergency and where the nearest major hospital is. If you do fall ill, you may not be in a position to explain what you know, so make sure you spend some time talking to your travelling companions to make sure they know it all. They should also know the number for your travel insurance company, as they can be invaluable in helping in the event of an emergency. Join the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers, as they can be hugely helpful too.
Keep Your Medication in Your Hand Luggage
Perhaps this is self-explanatory – but don’t trust the airlines with your medication. Travel can be completely unpredictable, and you can never be sure your luggage will arrive where and when you do. So, take it in your hand luggage and keep it close at all times. You should also ensure you have enough medication for the duration of your trip. Carefully count out how much medication you have and then pack more just in case your trip goes on for longer than you anticipate.
Wear Medical Alert Identification
If you have an underlying medical condition you should already know that you need to wear a medical alert tag, but this is especially crucial when you are travelling. You can now programme medical alert information into your smartphone, allowing medical personnel to check your condition if they find you unconscious or unable to respond. Don’t take any chances.