Going away for your summer holiday? Travelling for business? Or are you heading out on the adventure of a lifetime? Your itinerary is set, your packing done and your budget organised... but have you considered your health?
Holidays are all about 'getting away from it all:' a chance to escape our humdrum routines. Taking medications or ending up in a foreign hospital are probably the last things on your mind. And although you'd rather be organising your sightseeing excursions or sunbathing in the sunshine, spending just a little time to think about your health can vastly improve your chances of having a happy holiday that runs as smoothly as possible!
We’ve summarised three important things you should do before you go.
When it comes to exotic travel, it's essential that you're protected against diseases prevalent in your destination. You can find out all about the vaccinations you need for each country at the Fit For Travel NHS website. It's also important to keep a record of any vaccinations you've had for a number of reasons:
- If you're unlucky enough to fall ill whilst on holiday. Being able to show a doctor evidence of any vaccinations you've had prior to your visit and when you had them is particularly important.
- Many vaccinations require boosters. A up-to-date vaccination diary can remind you when you're due a booster.
- When travelling abroad, it's important to know which of your vaccinations are currently valid. This will prevent the costs and inconvenience of having repeat prescriptions.
Recording your vaccinations and booster dates in your Evergreen Life Personal Health Record enables you to have an accurate view of your current vaccinations and saves you time and money by reducing the need for unnecessary boosters.
Get med smart
Making sure you’re covered when it comes to your medication while on holiday can be a bit tricky – not only do you have to take extra measures through check-in, but you need to keep your medication accessible to yourself, and anyone you may be travelling with in the event of an emergency.
Greater Manchester-based GP, Dr Amir Hannan, recommends medication management apps to his patients when going on holiday. He says that getting medicine reminders "becomes even more important when people are very busy or otherwise pre-occupied." So, don't get caught out by those pesky time zones, just set up alerts in your Evergreen Life app to stay on top of things while you're away.
We also recommend the following tips to stay med-smart:
- Store duplicate medication in more than one place. Keep medication on-hand during your flight in your hand luggage, but keep some in your hold luggage, in case of any scenario.
- Top up your supply. Ensure you have enough medication for the duration of your journey. Sounds obvious but it’s easy to overlook. Talk to your doctor and ensure you have fulfilled your prescriptions in good time. Strapped for time? If you're linked to your GP via your Evergreen Life app, you can easily and quickly order your repeat prescriptions so you've got enough in time for your trip.
- Take copies of your NHS prescriptions. Carrying prescription drugs between countries can present difficulties. You should keep a copy of your prescription with your medication to clarify you are carrying the medication for valid health reasons.
- Keep a full medication record. If you fall ill whilst travelling, it’s important that the doctor treating you knows about all of your conditions and medications. By connecting to your GP record and storing information in your Evergreen Life Personal Health Record, all this information will be at hand without you having to remember the long names and dosages.
Know your health
Having an existing medical condition shouldn’t stop you from travelling abroad. The important thing is to prepare well for your trip.
Should the worst happen and you need to seek medical treatment for your condition, it's important that you can communicate accurately all of your existing conditions and medications to the health provider. With Evergreen Life, you’re able to connect to your GP record through the app - so all of your medical history can easily be found by any health professional you see whilst on holiday.
Give your family peace-of-mind
With Evergreen Life, you've got the option to share all or parts of your health record with your loved ones, so that it gives peace-of-mind for your family. Dr Amir says that for those who are worried about their parent's memory in case they're becoming forgetful, children "can set the app up for their parents to remind them to take their meds." This can be especially valuable when you or your family are away and you want to make sure they're staying on top of their health.
Allergies and language barriers
One of the main difficulties when dealing with ill health abroad is the language barrier. Explaining you have a nut allergy in a UK restaurant may be relatively easy, but do you know how to say in Spanish? Or Arabic? There are quick and easy resources and information online to help with this.
For example, people with Coeliac Disease, who experience symptoms as a result of eating gluten, can find information leaflets for the country they are travelling to on the Coeliac UK website, including useful phrases and allergen labelling. You will also find various online sources for allergen cards. Celiactravel.com offer restaurant cards which explain in the language of your choice that you are coeliac. These can simply be shown to your waiter. Storing these patient leaflets and translated allergen cards in your Evergreen Life health record app so they will be at hand when you need them.
Are you covered?
Many insurance policies have strict exclusion criteria, with pre-existing conditions often included if you’re not careful – ensure that all conditions are disclosed to your insurer so that in the event of needing treatment for symptoms related to your existing condition, you will be covered for medical treatment. Remember, you can store your health insurance information within the Documents & Letters section of your Evergreen Life app to save taking paper records with you.
Take control of your health on holiday
If you do end up becoming unwell whilst you're on holiday, you can make sure you're already prepared for that by setting up an account with your Evergreen Life app and linking to your GP. That way, you've got all your medical and health records in one place, making it so easy to communicate your conditions and what medications you're taking to treat them - as well as any allergies that they should be aware of.
We hope you have a safe and happy, but most importantly, healthy holiday. Download the Evergreen Life app today.