We always hope that you have a good holiday and that you return in better health than perhaps you were in before you went! With the growth of holiday hotels and resorts, the potential for accidents or illness is greater than at any time. This is surprising in many ways because of the extensive publicity attached to a holiday brand when things go wrong; it is not beyond normal expectations that lessons are learnt and whatever caused the problem has been dealt with! Whatever the issues, you should always be prepared for the onset of health problems, whether they have been caused by the failure of the holiday product or a problem with your personal health. Seeking medical attention can sometimes become a necessity and it is important to consider the following steps when having to visit a Doctor abroad:
- Always carry full travel insurance and if travelling within the EU, your European Health Insurance Health Card – these will often be requested;
- Always keep and store separate copies of your health insurance documents in case the originals go missing or you lose them;
- Take care, if offered medication or are recommended medication by anyone who is not a fully qualified Doctor or Pharmacist – do not blindly accept that such medication is right for you!
- Be careful if you are in the hotel or resort environment if you are recommended to visit the on-site medical centre – are the staff properly medically qualified?
- It is important to remember that some hospitals abroad do not cater for children so you should make sure that you are directed to the correct hospital or medical centre;
- Remember, a Doctor abroad will not have your full medical history – you should make them aware of any medical conditions you have;
- Make sure that you make any Doctor you visit abroad aware of any allergies such as penicillin and so on;
- When visiting a Doctor abroad, make sure that you take any medication with you that you are currently taking;
- If you are not sure about the medication you are being prescribed with, then ask what each medicine is for and what it will do;
- Always keep receipts for any medical treatment you receive or for any medicines you have to pay for and present these to your travel insurer when you come home;
- If an operative procedure is recommended, seek a second opinion where it is appropriate to do so and in any event, speak with your insurance company as quickly as possible;
- If there is any aspect of medical treatment or medication that you are unsure of, call your GP in the UK directly and seek their advices on the medical treatment being offered to you!
By following these simple rules, they will help you maximise your chances of a quick recovery. For information about the range of illnesses reported to us by returning holidaymakers, visit our illness and infection section and follow the advices on preparing for health before you travel. If you have any concerns about travel health, then please contact us for further guidance.