Wednesday, 13 July 2016

What Happens If You or Your Family Fall Ill Abroad?

It's a scenario that no one likes to imagine. You're on holiday, enjoying some well deserved time off, when one of your family becomes unwell. The reason we don't like to think about it is because it's so distressing. Ill health, particularly in children, is bad enough when you're at home around people you know and trust. When it happens in a foreign country, even the most benign of sniffles begins to feel alarming.

It's something you dismiss as a possibility at your peril though. One of the best ways of coping for such a situation is to be as well prepared as possible.
The process of this preparation begins before you even leave. By putting the hard work and worry in at this point, you can prevent catastrophes while abroad. Ask yourself before any trip:
  • Can I describe, in detail, any pre-existing conditions that my family has? Can I do it in the language of the country we are visiting? Take computer printouts if you need extra guidance.
  • Do we need vaccinations? A huge part of preventing health mishaps is by going for vacinnations. Depending on your beliefs, this may be controversial. With that said, vaccines are considered safe by the medical community. They are all the more important when your child might be exposed to a bug they have never had any chance to encounter before. Speak with your doctor if you need advice.
  • How do we access healthcare if we need to? The planning stage is when you go about making sure you have ticked off renewing EHIC card and purchasing travel insurance if necessary. This will make sure any potential ill health is dealt with rapidly, and without you sustaining heavy financial burdens. No one wants to have to make decisions on treatment based on what is the most affordable.
With all of that done, the tough stuff is behind you.
So what happens if you, or your children, begin to feel unwell on holiday?
Don't Assume The Worst
Just because you're in a part of the world with a few nasty foreign diseases does not mean you have caught them. Look at the symptoms as you would if you were at home. Would you go rushing to the doctors if your child had a sniffle or ear ache in the UK? Probably not, so don't do it abroad.
Pay Attention To Fever
A fever can be an indicator that something is wrong that you cannot find the cause of. If anyone spikes any kind of fever (anything over 37C) then it might be worth a trip to a doctor. You might not do that at home, but abroad, you might need more time to make your point if there's a language barrier.
Take Sensible Precautions
If you're in a country where you should be only drinking bottled water, don't run the risk with the taps. Shower thoroughly after using any communal pools and use antibacterial hand cleanser on the whole family when eating out.
Having a plan of action for what to do if the worst happens should help you relax a little. All being well, you can read and act on this information, and then never have to use it at all!

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