10 Steps you can take to avoid or handle medical emergencies abroad
There are things that you cannot plan for no matter how you try to but there is a big difference when you are prepared for the unexpected. We list some tips that you can check out to avoid any health hazards before traveling or what you should do in case you encounter an emergency while overseas.
Go for a checkup with your doctor before you travel
It will be wise to see your doctor prior to going overseas. Make sure that you body is in good shape especially if you have not had a check-up recently. Tell your doctor about any unusual physical activity that you might do, like if you are planning to climb a mountain or jump off a cliff.
You can also ask if they will recommend any vaccination. Eight weeks before traveling, it is recommended that you have the necessary shots.
Review your medical insurance
Check if your insurance includes enough coverage to take care of transportation and medical bills in case something happens abroad. You can get a supplemental coverage from an independent insurance company. You can also call your credit card company and verify if they have referral services when you encounter an emergency abroad. Some card companies also offer reimbursement of evacuation and medical emergency expenses.
Get an idea of the medical capabilities in your destination
With the help of the internet, it will be very easy to get a glimpse of the medical treatment you can get when you encounter an emergency in your destination. You need to have a very good idea if you can get a blood transfusion or emergency transportation if the need arises. Also have an idea of alternative arrangements you can make in case the unexpected knocks on your door.
Know the address of your embassy
The embassy will be your connection to home when you are in a foreign land. You can check their website so you know if there are any travel advisories that may concern you. The personnel of the embassy can also guide and help you during times of emergency. Worse comes to worst, the emergency can help bring you and your family home or anyone traveling with you if necessary.
Your embassy can also give you a list of good medical facilities and medical experts in your destination. They may also help in case you have problems transferring funds from your country of origin.
Sign up for international medical service
Nowadays, there are membership organizations that can help coordinate medical assistance, insurance, and legal help when you are abroad. They can also point you to trusted facilities that they are connected with abroad. In case you require medical help, some of these organizations can ask a doctor speaking your language to visit you in your hotel room.
Know how to call for emergency help
You might be used to dialing 911 when you have an emergency but it will be different when you are abroad. Make sure you know whom to call in case of emergency. For the European Union, you can dial 112. In Bulgaria it will be 160 while it is 123 in Egypt. You can browse for this information at www.sccfd.org.
Bring your medical information with you
You might know your blood type or your allergies but it will be very hard for you to say this to an emergency medical personnel when you just have been incapacitated. You can write down pertinent information like medications taken, previous operations, any serious health problems, and other medical concerns that you might have.
It will also be easier if you use a form from www.cdihp.org, store everything online, or get a medical bracelet. The information that can be accessed by medical professionals will be very vital in saving your life in case of an emergency.
Inform the one you are traveling with
Knowledge about your medical condition is a great tool to start with in case of an emergency. Whether you are traveling with a colleague or just hitting the dirt with a safari guide, letting them know of a serious condition and letting them know where your medicine is at will be critical when you suddenly drop on the ground.
Request for medical escort service
When you encounter a medical emergency abroad and you feel that you are not fit to travel alone going home, you can hire a medical escort to go with you. Usually there will be a paramedic or a licensed nurse who can accompany you to your flight back home. They will be able to monitor your vitals signs, give you medicine, monitor intravenous fluids, and a lot more which you can not do by yourself. If your insurance does not cover this, their service will cost from $10K to around $20K.
Make sure you have a telephone number handy for emergency medical evacuation. In the United States this kind of service may put a tab of around $10,000 while prices may go as high as $100,000 when you are in foreign land.
You might not really need an emergency evac but having that number in your pocket can spell life or death.