Health issues require some extra preparation before you set off on holiday.
For those dealing with a chronic health condition, taking off on holiday requires a lot of extra preparation.
But with some care and awareness there is no reason why you won’t be able to enjoy your holiday and avoid any complications.
Here are some things to be aware of to make it a smooth and safe trip.
- Plan ahead. Depending on the condition it could take months of planning. Those on dialysis are advised to have a minimum three-month lead time. Vaccinations can also take time.
- Make sure your condition is well controlled before you travel, see your GP for advice.
- Ask your GP for a letter summarising your medical conditions and baseline test results, a list of medications plus any equipment needed (such as blood glucose strips, needles and meters for diabetics) and keep it with you at all times.
- Make sure you have enough medication to last the length of your trip plus extra in case of delays. Also, be mindful that some medications available over the counter in Australia may require a prescription in other countries (eg. asthma reliever medication).
- If you need to take syringes, you must bring the drug you inject, such as insulin. There is no limit to how many empty syringes you can take as long as you also have the drug with you, with a professionally printed label that clearly identifies it. On your return trip, make sure you declare any drugs you were given or prescribed.
- Pack medications in their original containers in carry-on luggage with copies of your prescriptions and extras in your main luggage.
- For medications that have to be kept cool, ask your pharmacist how to pack it for travel and work out access to refrigeration at your destination.
- If crossing time zones, adjust your medication schedule accordingly — remember medications should be based on elapsed time, not time of day.
- Some medications for traveller’s diarrhoea and malaria can have interactions with common treatments for chronic medical illnesses (eg. Warfarin) so discuss the potential for drug interactions with your GP.
- Take out travel insurance. While some insurers refuse cover for certain chronic health conditions, a broker may help identify a company willing to offer cover.
- Ensure you have enough funds to cover costs for health emergencies.
- When making a hotel reservation, remember to ask for a ground-floor room if stairs or walking distances are a problem.