Summer is approaching and many of us are thinking about the trips we are about to take. I recently spent a week in Paris and it was everything a vacation should be and more. However, it would not have been if I not had carefully packed all my health supplies. If by chance I encountered an emergency, I was also well prepared with the appropriate information that I might need.
On my return from Paris, by coincidence, I had an interview lined up TravelTalk Radio,hosted by Sandy Dhutvetter, which you can catch this Sunday, between 9 and 11 am Pacific Time, . We discussed my book, e-Patients Live Longer, the Complete Guide to Managing Health Care Using Technology (http://www.amazon.com/E-Patients-Live-Longer-Complete-Technology/) and how empowered patients prepare for travel.
So what do you have to do before you leave on a trip? Be Proactive!
- Check to be sure that all of your vaccinations are current.
- Talk with your doctor about any health concerns you may have.
- If you are going abroad, go to the Center for Disease Control web site and check out the current warnings and advice by scrolling down the home page and clicking on the link Travelers Health. For example those you who may be considering a trip to the tropics, you need to heed the warning about Dengue disease, Just this week the CDC issued a report on measles outbreaks of which there are many throughout Europe. The tips here is do not embark on your trip without taking a look at the CDC site.
- Put together a travel kit that includes all of your prescription medicines as well as over the counter medications that you might need or use. Also include sun screen, nose sprays, eye and ear drops, lozenges, hand sanitizer, special bandages, lotions and sprays, an extra pair of eye glasses or lenses and anything else that you might need. Be sure that anything liquid conforms to the TSA rules about the size of the containers because you want to carry this kit with you in your carry on luggage so there is no chance that it could be lost.
- If you take controlled substances or injectable medications, bring a note from your doctor with you that includes specific prescribing instructions.
- Prepare and carry with you a sheet of paper with names of family members, doctors, health insurance information, travel insurance, and data that would be needed in an emergency such as names of hospitals or clinics at your destination and how to contact the embassy or consulate.
- Upload the ICE (In Case of Emergency) APP to your cell phone. This is a free app. and enables you to store all of your health information in your cell phone so that it is available to emergency medical personnel if you arrive at a hospital unable to communicate. It includes your contacts for family members, your physicians, your health insurer, all of your medications, allergies, special conditions such as implants, chronic conditions. It is probably the most important app. you have in your cell phone.
There are also many precautions while on your trip.
- Frequent hand washing is essential
- Use bottled water and avoid using the local water sources
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products
- Be aware of any swelling or tenderness in your legs or sudden shortness of breath that you experience after a long plane bus or train trip. These symptoms could indicate the onset of a blood clot. To avoid that happening you can wear special stockings on your trip, keep well hydrated and walk around frequently.
Vacations are wonderful and important. Be prepared so that a health incident will not ruin your trip.