Family trips abroad, what to do if we get sick?

Going abroad during the holidays is a desire that more and more Spaniards are making real. This is shown by the statistics that say that trips abroad already account for almost 10% of travel. In the third quarter of last year, they grew more than 14%, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE) and forecasts indicate that this Easter the figures will continue to grow.

The favorite destinations for Spaniards to travel are France, United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy or Germany, EU countries that are close, but far if we take into account the setbacks, especially if they are related to health. The risk of suffering the spread of dangerous diseases varies according to destination and access to the health system is also different if traveling outside the European Union. For this reason, it is important to be cautious and to carry in the suitcase all that is necessary to remedy the small mishaps that may occur and facilitate medical attention, if necessary.

How to act if we get sick outside of Spain

So that we do not panic if we fall ill when we are visiting a foreign country, here are some tips to proceed:

1. Process documents to receive medical care abroad. All public centers in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are included in the coverage of the European Health Card, so it will simply have to be requested in any Spanish health center, or in the Social Marine Institute if necessary that extra documentation is provided. Another option, in case of not having time to process the issuance of the TSE, is to request a Provisional Substitute Certificate. This document has the same coverage as the card, but is only valid for 90 days.

Outside the EU, Spain has agreements with Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Morocco, Peru and Tunisia, which guarantee free medical attention by presenting a form that can be requested at any Social Security information and service center. If the country of destination does not have any sanitary agreement with Spain, as it is the case of the US, it is best to hire medical insurance before traveling to cover some minimum expenses in case of needing medical attention.

2. Review health insurance coverage. If you have private health insurance, it is most likely to cover assistance abroad. This type of coverage allows having an immediate, personalized and quality medical service. However, the expenses derived from the visit to the doctor must be paid, which will be reimbursed once you return to Spain. To do this, do not forget to ask for the invoices for the services received, in addition to the medical reports of the assistance received.

3. Get vaccinated before traveling to certain countries. The presence of some contagious diseases, such as cholera, yellow fever and meningitis, in some areas of the world is an important risk factor that must be taken into account before packing. The best thing to know what vaccines you have to put on is to inform yourself at the nearest health center. In addition, we must be proactive and do it with time, since some of these treatments are applied for several weeks before the trip, as in the case of Hepatitis A, whose vaccine is administered for 2 to 4 weeks.

4. Keep an updated medical history. If the situation is complicated and medical attention is necessary during the trip, it is very important to inform professionals if they are taking any treatment that may produce side effects when they come into contact with another medicine, or if they are allergic to certain compounds. . A good measure of prevention is to duly inform the companions and carry a paper report at all times, in addition to a digital copy on the smartphone. This can save more than one problem from counterproductive medical care.

5. Investigate the destination in terms of medicines. If you suffer from a chronic disease and travel abroad, it is necessary to carry documentation that specifies the disease, treatment and medications that are being taken (always the generic name), since it may happen that this medicine is not legal in the Destination country. On the other hand, if you get sick during the trip, it is also very important not to self-medicate, wait for the medical results and acquire those expressly prescribed. Taking a drug for which the effects are not known may cause a negative reaction.

6. Acquire a first-aid kit. Nothing better than a first aid kit to get out of the way and cure a wound produced during the trip. Backpacking tourism punishes the feet with the passing of days, so bringing a kit to cure blisters and other wounds caused when walking is a must for anyone who chooses this form of travel.Of course, you can not miss in the kit gauze, cotton, bandages, scissors, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol or a good antiseptic. In addition, it is very important that patients who are taking any pharmacological treatment or are prone to suffer certain episodes, for example, diabetics, carry sufficient reserves.

7. Beware of the food and water consumed. Before traveling to any foreign country, one must take into account a fundamental premise: beware of food and water. If you are going to eat out, it is convenient to choose the restaurant properly and avoid food from street stalls cooked without any sanitary control. In addition, care must be taken not to drastically change the usual diet and maintain a certain balance. The stomach will also notice. As for water, if you have doubts about the quality of tap water, it is advisable to drink bottled mineral water and use it not only for direct consumption, but also for washing fruits, vegetables and cooking. In this regard, the ice is also a potential danger, so you should also avoid the consumption of beverages containing them.

Cigna Health Medical Department

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