Around a quarter of the population go on holiday abroad every year – and around a quarter of those will fall ill or suffer from some kind of medical condition while overseas. So what precautions can you take to avoid this happening? What should you pack in case it does? And how can you ensure that you’ll get the right kind of care overseas without it costing you a fortune in medical bills?
This article offers you travel health advice, and is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
There are many diseases that are commonplace overseas which UK travellers have no natural immunity against. These include yellow fever, malaria, typhoid, rabies, and dengue fever to name but a few. To protect yourself against infection, you will need to be vaccinated well in advance of your trip.
You can find out which travel vaccinations are required for the country you’re travelling to by visiting the Department of Health website and the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Your GP will also be able to advise you on the latest recommended travel vaccinations and supply you with the necessary course of treatment. However, you will need to pay for this treatment yourself as it is not covered by the NHS.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition and need to take medication with you, you should make sure you take a copy of your prescription, signed by your GP. You may also need to carry a letter from your GP explaining your condition, to help overseas doctors in the case of an emergency. You should make sure you have enough medication to last the trip, as well as any delays on your return journey. You should also check that your medication is legal in the country you’re visiting.
In addition to your regular medication, you should also consider stocking up on antiseptic cream, diarrhoea pills, antihistamines and a sterile first aid pack, as these items may not be readily available in some countries or remote areas.