Vacation season is here – and millions of Americans are taking to the roads, skies or seas in search of some summer fun. In fact, according to AAA, a third of Americans will take a family vacation this year. Read More.
But a dream vacation can turn into a nightmare if someone gets sick or injured while traveling. To avoid inconvenience – or tragedy – travelers should follow these tips to prevent illness (Safety Tips) as well as adhere to some safety pointers, including:
- Know when to seek medical help. Reasons to seek immediate help include a bite from an animal, reptile or bird; a car accident; sexual assault or physical attack or a fever over 102.
- Drink plenty of clean water or other fluids to replace any lost body fluids (usually caused by diarrhea).
- Contact the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you think you need assistance. Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens.
- In the event of a disaster while traveling overseas, follow the instructions of emergency responders and monitor the U.S. Embassy, U.S. State Department as well as Voice of America news broadcasts for information or announcements.
- Contact family, friends or your employer as soon as possible after a disaster to keep them informed of your location and health status.
- Some areas are prone to certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis. To find out if your destination is at a higher risk for certain natural disasters, visit //www.cdc.gov.
Most importantly, prepare well in advance for emergencies. Vacations can take months to plan and save for, but can be ruined in an instant. Research and consider a travel insurance plan – which can include valuable medical and trip interruption coverage and more. Another option: an emergency travel service membership with MedJet Assist., which can help in the event of a medical emergency, domestically or internationally.
In addition there are a few sources that can help travelers locate medical care abroad, including:
- The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) maintains a directory of health care professionals with travel medicine expertise in nearly 50 countries.
- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) maintains a list of clinicians outside the U.S. Traveler in need of specialized post-travel care may also find the directory helpful for locating tropical medicine experts back home.
- Travelers can also search the Joint Commission International website for accredited health care facilities at their destination.
For more general information on travel safety, visit //wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel