Useful Health Tips Before You Travel
Health & Safety Tips, Travel Tips

6 Useful Health Tips Before You Travel

Life should carry on as normal despite the continued coronavirus outbreak, and at some point, we’ll have to go out from the safety of our own homes specially, those who need to go on business trips but we should observe precautions in doing so. Here are some things to consider before you head out on your next trip.

I’ll try to explain everything clearly and briefly, let my inner Nurse kick in.

Health Tip 1: Know and Evaluate your Health Status

  • Had undergone any type of surgery specially the major ones like abdominal surgeries and orthopedic – hip replacement, or knee surgery.
    RATIONALE: Flying after surgery can sometimes be dangerous due to an increase in the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in your deep veins). This is because these flights, specially a long-haul can restrict blood flow due to lack of movement, increase the discomfort from your surgery which can delay and disrupt the healing. You general health may also be affected, such as dehydration from plane cabins, which in turn may hinder your healing process.
  • Recently had a stroke or heart attack
    RATIONALE: When you are sedentary for some time (sitting in a long-haul flight), it will slow your blood flow, making a clot and DVT more likely. There are also less oxygen availability in the cabin. This can cause problems for those with a heart or breathing condition.
  • Communicable disease
    RATIONALE: These are illnesses caused by viruses or bacteria that people spread to one another through contact with contaminated surfaces, bodily fluids, blood products, insect bites, or through the air. Example of this is COVID-19.
  • A fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
    RATIONALE: A high fever can be a sign of infection which may be contagious and may worsen during the stressors of travel.
  • Brain tumor or swelling
    RATIONALE: People with a brain tumor have a lower seizure threshold. This means you have a greater chance of having a seizure (fit of uncontrolled movements) than people without a brain tumor. There is also risk of infection – brain treatments may lower or weaken your immune system and it can increase your risk of acquiring diseases.
  • Preexisting Deep Vein Thrombosis or other blood clotting disorders
    RATIONALE: Blood clotting is an important process that prevents excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured however, if a blood clot breaks free and travels through your veins to your heart (may trigger heart attack) and lungs (may cause pulmonary embolism or difficulty of breathing), it can get stuck and prevent blood flow.
  • Pregnant women over 36 weeks 
    RATIONALE:  specially with pregnancy complications, like preeclampsia (high blood pressure). You could give birth anytime (prelabor rupture of membranes, and preterm labor).

Health Tip 2: Check Your Destination and Consult a Doctor Before You Go

  • Check for health advisories and travel warnings & advisories
    Find out whether your country has issued a travel warning or alerts, for countries where long-term issues create a risky environment for travelers. Also read on what vaccinations needed or other precautions in order to keep you safe and healthy while you’re abroad.
  • Consult your doctor at least 4 weeks before the trip
    Inform your doctor of the following so they can assess your risks and work out a plan with you:
    ▸ Your destination
    ▸ Date you are leaving
    ▸ The length of your trip
    ▸ Activities you might do
    ▸ Other medical/surgical history that you think is significant

Health Tip 3: Plan Ahead of Emergencies, Consider Getting an Insurance

There are many types of insurances but for travel related, a travel should consider getting one that offers all three:

  • Travel Health Insurance:
    If you’ve been involved in an accident or you’ve fallen ill and you need to go to a hospital or clinics abroad you may need to pay out of pocket for any services rendered, which could be very expensive. Be sure to check if the insurance covers the following:
    ▸ Hospitalization
    ▸ Day surgery and out-patient treatment
    ▸ Visits to registered medical practitioners
    ▸ Prescribed medicines
    ▸ Ambulances
    ▸ Extra expenses to get you home, if medically necessary
  • Travel Insurance for Medical Repatriation
    Accidents (or illnesses) are bound to happen specially if we take ourselves on an adventure and sometimes home is where you can get the best medical attention.
    ▸ One-way airfare to return to your home country/province; or
    ▸ Fare for additional seats should you need to accommodate a stretcher; or
    ▸ Round-trip airfare for a medical escort when a requirement by the airline or when medically necessary
  • Travel Insurance for Cancellation
    When you need to unexpectedly cancel a trip, paying out of pocket could be expensive, as well. Here are some things to look for when getting an insurance.
    ▸ The doctor certifies that you’re medically unfit to travel
    ▸ You, your travel buddy or a close relative is hospitalized or dies
    ▸ A 24-hour physician support center  
  • Travel Insurance for Natural Disaster
    Natural disasters can strike anywhere in the world at any time these include floods, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquake and etc. Without travel insurance already in place, these travelers likely would have been out-of-pocket for any extra expenses incurred as a result of the eruption, including new flights home. You’ll need to have bought a policy before the natural disaster is known, or else you won’t be covered for any expenses.
    ▸ Trip cancellation costs
    ▸ Additional travel expenses – e.g. new flights and alternative accommodation if you’re completely rerouted due to natural disaster
    ▸ Travel delay expenses
    ▸ Alternative transport costs
    ▸ Cutting your trip short
    ▸ Damage to your belongings
    ▸ Emergency medical expenses

Health Tip 4: Pack Appropriately

  • Always carry a travel health kit
  • Pack medicines (in their original, labeled containers) that’s enough throughout the duration of your trip
  • Be sure to check the foreign embassy of the country you’re traveling to, or passing through, to learn which prescription drugs are permitted or illegal in the country.
  • Visitors taking prescription medicines (tablets and ampules) should bring a letter from their physician stating the condition for which they are receiving treatment and the dosage.

Health Tip 5: Gather Emergency Contact Numbers

  • Have a list of emergency phone numbers and a printable list to keep on hand just in case.
    ▸ Hospital
    ▸ Local EMS
    ▸ Insurance agent
    ▸ Your landlord/landlady (if applicable)
    ▸ Local police station
    ▸ Fire department
  • Set up ICE (In Case of Emergency) info on your smartphone
    Label your emergency contacts as “ICE – My Husband”, “ICE – My Mother”, etc.
    1. Go to the notes/massages section of your phone
    2. Write down your emergency numbers
    3. Screenshot the note and save it as your screensaver

Health Tip 6: Share Your Travel Information

Be sure to inform a family member or a friend of your plans, leave copies of all of your travel documents, including your passport, health insurance documents, itinerary, and prescriptions.

Polly Amora

Polly Amora is the general manager of a privately owned corporation in Manila, Philippines. She is a life-long learner who is extroverted to the extreme, knows four languages, is loud and outspoken, and enjoys adventure in the mountains, the beach, and the city. You can throw her wherever and she'll handle it like a pro. Her weaknesses include ice cream and beer.

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