Thursday, 31 August 2017

What To Do When You Are Ill Abroad

As some of you will know a couple of weeks ago was (surprisingly) a monumental occasion in my life - travelling abroad...

You raise your eyebrows, this is a simple, modern, and now very "normal" way of living and indeed usually the easiest method to get from A to B abroad. 

Although, since being diagnosed with numerous chronic conditions (see this page to learn more of what they are...). I have not travelled abroad, despite the year before travelling nine times within twelve months, it now has a totally different experience to it altogether...

Of course, we keep our fingers crossed for well health and no flare ups whilst we go on holiday, (chronic illness or not).. but sometimes it does indeed unfortunately occur. 

Right after consuming this food it all repelled back up... and I was violently sick for the rest of the afternoon 

So, through all my flare antics on my six days out of England, here are some tips I have picked up if you require any medical attention
whilst abroad:

Travel Insurance
Perhaps the most obvious, and rightly so.. As soon as you book your trip make sure you buy travel insurance to cover both you and your possessions, in case the worst were to happen. Obviously, it becomes slightly more complex should you have a pre-existing health condition, and they will sometimes check any admittance to hospital due to the said condition, or what medication/treatment you are taking for it. The most important is to be truthful, obviously if anything was to happen, and they later realise you haven't disclose something, you would be liable for a lot more than the £30 or so for simply not declaring the complexity! 

EU Medical Card
Everyone in the UK is entitled to one of these, and can bring hospital bills down whilst travelling around Europe

The Hotel Doctor
For me on my most recent trip I was staying with family who live in France, and therefore this wasn't the case. Although a tip given to me by my GP, is often that if you find yourself either going through dreaded food poisoning or perhaps you having a PoTS flare and you need to ask for help from a doctor, it is worth utilising it, and again, they will take your travel insurance details, so you shouldn't have to worry about costs

Don't Forget To Take The Basics
So, whatever your situation - whether you suffer from any pre-existing conditions or not, don't forget to take medication in the event of needing it. Whether this could be paracetamol, immodium, rehydration tablets, anti-histamines plasters..or if you have a pre-existing condition make sure you bring your supply of medication, plus a couple of days extra - perhaps you might loose a tablet, or the flight could be delayed

Have an "Emergency" Fund
If possible, make sure you have some "emergency" money in your account should anything happen.

Doctor's Note
Following the above, if you indeed take anything more than the "standard" basics, and  you will be taking prescribed medication on board, don't forget to keep them in there packaging - with your name clearly stated. As I take injections and liquid nutrition, my doctor kindly wrote me a letter detailing all of my prescribed medication, signed and dated with her contact information should they need to verify anything.

Check With The Airline
Again, another recommendation from my doctor, yet by simply phoning up my airline - explaining my conditions, the symptoms I have, as well as detailing my medication - I was emailed a waiver letter for another 1.5kg of hand luggage for my medical supplies as well as received assistance in the passport control queues.

Get a Good Data Plan
Yes,you may have free wifi in your hotel, or a local coffee shop but if you are out and about in need of help, this can be vital for information - google where the nearest A&E is, hospital telephone numbers, taxi numbers... etc

Take Photographs of Medication
So simple, yet really handy (and a well thought idea from my partner!) if you are unable to speak the language, you can take a photograph of all your medication laid out, and print it off and make sure to keep it with you at all times, so that if in the case, of a urgent hospital visit is required, they can swiftly see what medication you are taking!

Google Translate
Finally, on the same note as not being able to understand the language- make sure you download Google Translate before you go - it's also another use for the data mentioned earlier!

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help!
It is suprisingly daunting to ask for help in another country, if people understand you are in a kind of emergency, you might find that they can be very helpful and kind.

I hope some of these tips may provide useful if you do, unfortunately find yourself ill abroad whether you are a spoonie or not!

Please let me know if you have any tips to add to this list!

"The Hopeful Chronic"



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