10 Tips for seeking medical help on holiday abroad
Here are 10 tips to help you get the medical help you may need on holiday abroad:It is every holidaymaker’s worst nightmare to be ill on holiday abroad – but being prepared can help you deal with all eventualities from mosquito bites to Spanish tummy and more serious incidents like a slip, trip or fall at your hotel or injuries from a road accident.
- If you are holidaying in the EU, make sure you apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) a month or so before you go. An EHIC entitles EU residents to the same medical treatment as locals – but any pre-existing conditions or health issues not covered by the local health service may be chargeable.
- Remember to take out adequate travel insurance – and if you have a pre-existing health condition or develop one (eg you become pregnant or develop a condition like a heart complaint or break a limb) in between taking out your travel policy and departure date, make sure you update the policy with your insurance company or you may not be covered
- The British consul is not legally obliged to pay for your medical treatment abroad if you have no money – and will not fund a medically assisted flight home either, so make sure your travel insurance all this
- Many hotels now have a resident doctor or pharmacist – make sure you tell them about any existing health conditions or medications you are taking (even health store treatments or recreational drugs) in case they adversely affect any prescribed medications
- NHS Choices is online, available via an app and on Facebook – and holidaymakers can post health queries online for live health advice, or check the NHS Choices online compendium of medical conditions for medical advice on holiday
- Use Tripadvisor before you book your holiday – and even just before departure – to make sure your chosen hotel does not have a record of holiday sickness and diarrhoea. If you discover there is an outbreak before you depart, you can request that the tour operator accommodate you elsewhere if you have booked a regulated package holiday which comes with an ATOL certificate
- Children, the elderly and those with immunodeficiency conditions such as HIV/AIDS or a recent bout of glandular fever may be more prone to illness on holiday – never leave illnesses which last for more than 24 hours or grow worse after 24 hours undiagnosed or untreated
- Be wary of self-medicating abroad – or of taking medications prescribed locally but which you are not sure about. Take the phone number of your GP surgery in the UK on holiday and speak to your own doctor or a nurse practitioner if you are in any doubt
- Always report illness at your hotel to your holiday representative – including holiday sickness and diarrhoea and any instance or poor food preparation or poor hygiene at your hotel, including undercooked meat or chicken or reheated or re-served food on a buffet
- If you are ill or injured on a package holiday through no fault of your own, you are protected under the 1992 Package Travel Regulations – contact a specialist holiday claims lawyer when you return home and ask about making a claim for holiday illness compensation against your tour operator.