Blog Post by:
Lori Brown, NP-C, MSN, RN, BA
Operations Manager, Going Home Medical
More Americans are traveling internationally for business, pleasure, volunteerism, and visiting family and friends. No one wants to think about getting ill or hurt. However, it can occur unexpectedly and without warning. Not every illness or injury is preventable, but planning can make it easier to deal with.
Maintaining good health while traveling is a concern. Individuals should visit their primary physician well in advance of their trip to find out what precautions, medications, immunizations and other health considerations are necessary against illness in the countries that they will be visiting. Filling prescriptions before departure and getting a letter from your physician is vital since some countries have strict laws on medication. In addition, knowing the location of a local clinic or hospital in the area is also important.
For travelers who experience the following:
- Diarrhea, vomiting, flu-like illness, and fever above 102F
- Have been bitten or scratched by an animal
- Have been in a car accident
- Have been seriously injured
- Are sexually assaulted
The CDC recommends that you contact the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate personnel where you are visiting. Emergency assistance for U.S. citizens is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Dial: 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free) if calling from the U.S. or Canada
Dial: 00 1 202-501-4444 if calling from overseas or find your local US Embassy at Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions.
Safeguard your information. Make two copies of all your travel documents in case of emergency. One copy left at home with a friend or relative and carry the other separately from your passport and money. Money matters when traveling aboard. Prior to leaving for your trip, notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel. Check exchange rates and foreign fees. Ask about using cash, debit/credit cards, and ATMs overseas. A visa may be necessary when traveling to your destination; contact the embassy of the countries you will be traveling to for more information.
A major illness or accident can result in a stressful event and additional expenses if you do not have evacuation or medical travel insurance. When leaving the United States, your health care coverage may not cover medical expenses aboard. Ensure your emergency travel needs are met and contact an insurance provider that offers a comprehensive travel plan that covers medical procedures and repatriation services!
BE PROACTIVE: CRISIS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CAP)
Assess your risks of traveling aboard. Violence, planned demonstrations, terrorism, political unrest, and natural disasters can take place without any warning. It is strongly recommended that vacationers and business travelers be vigilant and take steps to ensure safety and security awareness.
Having an emergency medical evacuation plan is essential in the event you become seriously ill or injured while traveling. AFIMAC, Going Home Medical and FocusPoint have joined to provide travelers with a global travel assistance membership and travel medical benefits program – Crisis Assistance Program (CAP). Business and vacationer travelers will receive immediate global assistance should a travel emergency arise. The CAP Travel Risk Portal provides the business traveler and vacationer with the necessary tools and essential information to stay prepared, informed and secure with travel alerts, and warnings. If a travel alert is posted or the traveler is faced with a medical emergency, a support team member will contact the traveler from the Crisis Command Center.
Medical or evacuation repatriation can be provided without you worrying about the details while you recover. Through a global network of security and disaster response partners, CAP can respond in hostile nations to assist with the recovery of medical records, GOP placement, or facilitating medical appointments, worldwide. Members are provided with a specialized array of air ambulance and repatriation service for safe and secure transport at no cost.
When it comes to travel, we all like to focus on the positive, but there are times when things go wrong. Natural disasters, political unrest, serious illness, stolen or lost documents are just a few scenarios that could happen on a trip. Although the chances of one or more of these occurring are rare; it is always better to be prepared.
To minimize travel disasters, a few simple solutions are:
- Bring any medications you may need while away
- Check local physicians, clinics, and hospitals in the area
- Register with the U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel in the countries you will be visiting
- Keep passport, travel documents, and money separate and secure
- Consider the right travel and evacuation insurance to meet your travel needs
Be safe and have fun!
Center for Disease Center Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/
Focus Point Global Travel Risk Management. https://www.focuspointintl.com/
Going Home Medical. Medical Response & Claims Management. http://goinghomemedical.com