6 things you MUST do when you travel with a medical condition
If you have a medical condition and are planning to take a trip, here are a few tips on how make sure you don't get into trouble. The most important thing is to have a record of your medications/dosage, your doctor(s) contact information and all your important medical info handy at all times such as on your iPhone.
1. Locate the nearest hospital, it can save your life.
You never know when you'll need medical care. Locate the nearest hospital to your hotel, as your chances of getting better healthcare rise dramatically when you're close to a hospital, and make sure your insurance covers emergency treatments in that hospital. A medical research conducted in Sheffield UK, determined that you should be as far as 6.5 miles from a hospital. This is true for all medical conditions.
2. Visit your doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip to get his blessing
Just to make sure you're in a medical state that allows you to travel away from home, visit your doctor 4-6 weeks before your traveling plans, as a quick test will determine you're perfectly safe to go ahead and travel. Your doctor should know about your traveling plans and reinsure its safety. You'll feel much more relaxed with his blessing.Make sure to ask your doctor for traveling recommendations, things to avoid and routine to keep while traveling.
3. Exotic locations can get you into exotic trouble
Make sure you get all your vaccinations in advance. Some vaccines like Hepatitis A needs to be taken a month ahead. Even more, it's extremely important to ask your doctor if it's medically safe for you to take those vaccinations in accordance with your medical conditions. For example, people with certain chronic illnesses, or people going through Chemotherapy for cancer, shouldn't receive the live virus vaccine for yellow fever.In case you're traveling to an exotic location with an exotic language other than your own, make sure you bring a translation of your medical condition and diagnosis.
4. Make sure you have a way to communicate with your doctor.
Get your doctor's and your pharmacist's emergency contact details in advance and carry them with you, both written on a paper in your suitcase and on your mobile phone. In case you won't be able to make the call yourself, make sure these contact details are available for to the people you travel with.
5. Always have your up to date medical records at hand
In case you need medical assistance, you must have your medical records with you. Make sure you have all your updated prescriptions, vaccinations, allergies, medical history and a description of your medical condition on your mobile phone. It's your responsibility to provide the most accurate information about your condition. The American Hospital Association has recently uncovered a shocking fact.Bottom line, don't trust the system and make sure you have all your important medical info handy at all times.
6. Don't break your diet, come prepared.
Check in advance what type of food they serve in the hotel's breakfast, plan your airplane or road meals ahead, and bring healthy snacks that fit your diet, especially if you're dealing with Diabetes, Lactose or Gluten Intolerance.
The bottom line…
It's in your power to travel healthy and responsibly. Take control, make healthy decisions and prepare in advance, so you can enjoy your next travel.
- Jon Nicholl, James West, Steve Goodacre, Janette Turner, Medical Care Research Unit, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK, The relationship between distance to hospital and patient mortality in emergencies: an observational study, Copyright ©2007 Emergency Medicine Journal.
- CDC - Centers of Disease Control and Prevention
- ONC/American Hospital Association (AHA), AHA Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement.