Health before you travel

Things to Consider About Your Health Before You Travel This Summer

With summer fast approaching, many of us are looking forward to a relaxing summer break. After picking the destination, making the arrangements and doing a bit of holiday shopping, the next step is to think about your health before you travel. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘fun’ arrangements of going on holiday, but ignoring health practicalities could spell trouble whilst you’re away. Consider the following as a useful checklist of things to remember before you go away.


Sign up for your EHIC

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaces the E111 forms that used to be an essential when you travelled. The EHIC ensures that you can get access to state-funded healthcare when you’re travelling in another country in the EU and therefore is a must to avoid paying heavy medical bills abroad. Launched in 2005, they expire after 10 years meaning those who signed up when they were first launched will need to renew theirs. Signing up or renewing is free and easy and can be done here. Always follow this official link as some search engine results take you to websites that ask you to pay for your card. Please note that the card can take up to 10 working days to arrive, especially during peak periods so if you’re due to go on holiday soon, sign up as soon as possible.


Buy travel insurance

It’s surprising how many people still fail to get travel insurance in preparation for going abroad. But should you become ill or suffer an accident, it will make all the difference. Travel insurance not only protects your belongings should they get lost or stolen, but it will help to pay for medical costs which could run into thousands of pounds when you’re away. Some policies will even pay for family members to fly out to be with you. Do a thorough comparison search of the best policies for your needs, and consider buying an annual policy if you plan on travelling several times in a year.


Check your prescriptions

If you’re on any form of medication, it’s essential that you make sure your prescriptions (including contraception) are up to date to take with you when you go away. It’s always good to take a supply that will last you longer than you intend to be away for, just in case you’re delayed coming back. Seek your doctor’s advice if you have any concerns about your medication whilst you’re away and don’t leave it until the last minute as some prescriptions can take a few days to fill at your local pharmacy.


Travel vaccinations

As it becomes easier and more affordable to travel, more and more of us are venturing further afield for our holidays. Whilst it’s great to explore other countries, there are some diseases and conditions which may be common in these places which we don’t have in the UK that you will need vaccinations for. FitForTravel features a list of destinations and tells you which vaccinations you require and how long you should have them before travel. For many vaccinations it is recommended that you have them weeks or months before travel, so do a bit of forward planning to ensure you get yours on time.


Don’t forget your first aid essentials

Whilst there will be pharmacies abroad, it’s always good to take some essentials with you before you travel. Pick up items such as painkillers, plasters, antiseptic cream/wipes, indigestion tablets, sanitary products and anything else you typically rely on at home. Pack plenty of sun cream and insect repellent too to avoid any miserable sunburn while you’re abroad.

Wherever your destination, we hope you have a fantastic time. Taking care of your health before you go will mean that you won’t have to worry about it whilst you’re away, allowing you to have a relaxing, stress-free break which you surely need after working so hard. For more useful information about travel health, the NHS website has a number of great resources.