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Staying healthy on your next trip

Summer is fast approaching, and many of us have already planned time off. From short trips around Asia to longer trips home, it is probably safe to say that many of us are eagerly anticipating our next holiday. While we all hope it will go off without a hitch, there is always a chance that something will happen resulting in a visit to a clinic or the hospital. If this happens, it can put a serious damper on the vacation not to mention it could result in unbudgeted expenditures.

To help avoid this, here are five health-related tips to keep in mind for your next trip.

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Start by packing the right medical supplies

Regardless of where you are going on your next vacation, it is a good idea to be sure to pack a few medical supplies before you go. The most obvious would be packing extra medication you take on a regular basis. For example, if your child has asthma, then packing an extra inhaler in your suitcase would be a good idea.

Beyond that, consider non-medical supplies such as mosquito spray, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. These can help reduce the effects of the sun or keep bugs at bay while out in the evening. In turn, this will reduce the chances of getting sick from bug bites or sunstroke.

Sure, you can buy these in most places you visit, but be aware that they may be expensive or not readily available. This is especially important if you have kids or family members with sensitive skin or allergies. Packing stuff they are used to will help limit the chances of allergic reactions.

 

Don’t forget to pack a med-kit

Ok, so you may not need a med-kit for all vacations but they can be useful, especially if you plan on traveling off the beaten path. For example, if you are going camping, will be on a long road trip where there won’t be a lot of civilization or trekking. While you can pack your own kit (our staff have created their own using the Red Cross’ suggested kits), many outdoor retailers in the city sell pre-made kits that should provide the basic essentials for most emergency situations.

If this sounds a little overkill, maybe consider packing bandages, basic medication, a pocket knife, and antibiotic cream that should cover small wounds until you get to the doctor.  

 

Research health concerns well before you go

There are always various ongoing health concerns particular to certain countries, and it will be beneficial to know what they are and the precautions needed before you head out. This may sound a little silly for highly westernized countries like say Canada, the US, Australia, etc. but even in these countries you will come across health concerns you may not face in Hong Kong. For example, May, June, and July in North America are the worst months for Lyme disease and West Nile Virus (both of which are known to be transmitted by bugs).

This is especially important however if you are going to countries or areas that require immunizations. Well before you head out on your vacation, it would be a good idea to stop by your local travel clinic to ensure your immunizations are up-to-date. This is especially important if you are going to climates you have never been to before as there could be immunizations or precautions you should take that you may not be aware of. For example, if you are heading to Northern Thailand or Cambodia in the summer, there is an increased risk of malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses due to the rainy season.

By talking with the doctors at the travel clinic you should be provided with insight into immunizations you need or steps you can take to avoid or minimize the chances of getting sick.

 

Be sure to eat wise and stay hydrated

This is important in avoiding illnesses like travelers’ diarrhea, as according to the CDC, “Travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is the most predictable travel-related illness. Attack rates range from 30% to 70% of travelers, depending on the destination and season of travel.” Other maladies like dehydration can also aggravate other health issues.

Therefore, it is recommended that when traveling you drink more than the usual amount of water to stay hydrated. Regardless of where you are going, it would also be a good idea to drink and use only bottled water to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth. If you are going to a place where tap water is safe to drink, try slowly easing into drinking the water in order to give your stomach and digestive system time to get used to it. If in doubt, ask a couple of locals or the staff at the hotel, as they will be able to tell you whether they drink the water or not.

When it comes to food, it would be a good idea to ease into the local cuisine over a couple of days. While that street food may look and smell amazing, there is a good chance your stomach may not think it so. Try eating at safer restaurants then slowly working your way up to what the locals eat.

 

Don’t forget your health insurance  

Finally, one of the most important things you can do is to ensure you have adequate health insurance coverage for your vacation. There are a number of types of plan available that will provide the coverage needed including both travel insurance and international health insurance. One thing to be aware of is that travel insurance plans sold in most countries will usually cover care in a foreign country, but are designed to ensure you get back home as fast as possible where your main insurance can take over coverage. As such, this means lower limits and often some gaps in coverage.

If you are looking for comprehensive coverage, your best bet is international health insurance which often covers care in every country, and with higher limits than many travel plans, which can be beneficial should you face an emergency situation.

Regardless of which type of insurance you select, it would be a good idea to procure a plan that offers emergency evacuation. This means that should the hospital you visit be unable to provide the level of care you need, your insurance will cover either the trip back to your home country or to the nearest location that can provide care.

To learn more about your health insurance options, and how they can help cover any medical situation that may happen on vacation, contact the experts at Pacific Prime today for a free quote for the best health insurance plan that will meet your needs.    

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Jess Lindeman

Content Strategist at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Jessica Lindeman is a Content Strategist at Pacific Prime. She comes to work every day living and breathing the motto of "simplifying insurance", and injects her unbridled enthusiasm for health and insurance related topics into every article and piece of content she creates for Pacific Prime.

When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.
Jess Lindeman