Medical Care & Emergencies
When travelling abroad your medical and health care is your responsibility. It is advisable to find out who to contact and what steps to take should you become ill or require emergency care while you are travelling as it will differ from country to country. Sustaining an injury in a foreign country can be a frightening experience, especially if you do not speak the local language.
Remember to apply for your European Health Insurance Card for yourself and your family members before you travel abroad. With an EHIC you will be able to use state provided healthcare for free or at a reduced cost in the European Economic Area.
If you have a chronic illness it is a recommended that you wear a medic alert bracelet, the same goes for if you have any allergies to medication, such as penicillin. Keep a copy of any prescriptions with you so that the local medical personnel are able to assist you with your medication and are quickly aware of any contraindications that could arise.
If you were to fall ill or suffer an injury while travelling you may have to pay large medical bills so it is essential to purchase adequate travel or medical insurance. It is also advisable to purchase medical evacuation insurance, in the event that you require transportation back to your home country. This should also cover repatriation of family members who are travelling with you. Carry your insurance policy card with you as proof of your medical insurance.
Check your insurance policy carefully to ensure you are covered for all eventualities and also be aware that pre existing medical conditions such as diabetes or asthma may require additional cover. If you are travelling while pregnant it is also advisable to let your insurance provider know as your policy may not cover you in the event of illness or injury. It is also important to note that most insurance policies will not cover you if you suffer an injury or illness due to alcohol or drug abuse.
It is vital to keep your emergency contact information in your passport up to date so that medical personnel can easily get in touch with your next of kin should you be unable to do so.