By Joseph M. Soler, M.D., F.A.C.E.P. –
It’s summertime, and for many people summer months are filled with frequent traveling and vacations. This is especially true for those with children on summer break and the increasing population of retirees. Traveling to new places is exciting within itself, a medical emergency is not required for making memories. To avoid a medical emergency from becoming the subject of future vacation memories, there are some simple guidelines to help keep you and your family stay safe while traveling.
Urgent care centers are often the place that travelers seek medical attention when they are away from home. Elderly patients, in particular, require urgent care while traveling due to chronic illness, falls, or problems with medications. Although the use of urgent care services by travelers is on the rise, with careful planning and preparation the most common travel-related medical emergencies can be avoided. Be prepared and learn how to minimize the chances that you or a traveling companion will experience an emergency while vacationing.
Before Leaving Home
- Refill all of your medications (make sure that you have enough to last the length of your travel plans plus a few extra days) and keep them with you at all times (don’t put them in checked luggage).
- If available, pack an extra pair of eye glasses. You never know what might happen to the first pair.
- Keep something with you at all times that identifies any special medical conditions you have (wear a bracelet or necklace, and/or put this information in your wallet).
- If you have medical insurance, be sure to put a copy of the current insurance card in your wallet.
- Add an emergency contact in your cell phone using “ICE” as the name. This allows medical providers to quickly find your emergency contact person to notify them and obtain any important health information.
- If embarking on a long trip, visit your primary care physician for a check-up to ensure you are in the best shape possible for your adventures.
- Leave copies of your travel plans with friends and family.
- Identify emergency medical facilities, including urgent care centers, in the areas you will be staying.
- Pack a first aid kit to take with you. Be mindful of first aid items that should be included depending on your destination and stops along the way (if camping bug repellant and matches may be important, if you plan to be outdoors often you might want to include small packets of sunscreen in your kit).
- Take your medications as prescribed and at the regular times (be aware of any time zone changes and adjust medication times accordingly to coordinate with your home time zone), while on vacation you are allowed to relax and enjoy your free time just don’t do it at the expense of your health.
- Keep a list of all medications (including name, strength and dosage) as well as any allergies with you on your person at all times.
- Stay hydrated, when traveling people often forget to drink enough water. Avoid excess alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
- Eat well-balanced meals. This is just as important while traveling as it is every day at home. Try to avoid food high in fats and sugars as much as possible while away from home.
- Do not try to do too much, don’t overexert your-self. Vacation and leisure travel is the perfect time to relax and take it easy, don’t get worked up if things don’t go exactly as planned.
- Inform others that you are traveling with, of any chronic medical conditions or special medication instructions you have.
If a minor medical emergency does arise while you are traveling, seeking treatment at an Urgent Care Center may be more efficient and cost effective than visiting the local emergency room. Urgent care is a convenient and viable option for medical treatment while traveling. These centers offer walk-in, extended-hour medical care provided by licensed practitioners for a large array of medical conditions.
Medical emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere. Being prepared can mean the difference in being at the center of a funny story or a sore memory later. The summer months are great for traveling and vacationing; by following these tips you will be prepared and better equipped to handle unforeseen medical emergencies.
Pinnacle Urgent Care
315 75th Street West – Bradenton, FL 34209
Monday-Friday | 7:30am-7pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays | 7:30am-5pm
Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas