Your vacation is a chance to get away from everything and spend some quality time doing whatever you feel like, free from the stresses of your everyday life. An essential element of being able to make the most of your trip is being in good health, but unfortunately, there are times when illness and accident strike at this most inopportune time. If this happens to you, then being prepared and having a strategy for coping with the situation will help to minimize the impact on your trip. You can’t avoid health problems altogether, but you can take steps to stop them from ruining your vacation.
Before you go
If any members of your party are on prescription medication, make sure they have sufficient supplies to keep them going for the entire time, plus a little extra for when you return. Running out of medications when you’re away will mean a very inconvenient, time-consuming detour to seek medical help and possibly a gap in treatment which could cause further complications and unnecessary pain. Take any over the counter medications you rely on as well, such as antihistamines, painkillers, and supplements. You should check that your first aid kit is fully stocked in case of any minor injuries occurring en route, and take some bags or fold-up buckets and old towels in case of any travel sickness. Check what medical and dental facilities are available at your destination and take contact details with you in case you need to make use of them. Take some insect repellent and cream for stings in case there are any biting critters where you’re going. If you’re going to be doing any sports or risky activities, take the required safety equipment or check that you will be adequately provided for at the activity center. It’s a good idea to take out some travel insurance that will cover you for any losses caused by health problems. Be sure to check all the terms and conditions to make sure you are covered fully, and be completely honest in your declaration concerning pre-existing conditions. Otherwise, you could risk invalidating your insurance in the event of a claim.
Dealing with health problems at your destination
If someone falls ill or injures themselves once your vacation begins, you need to assess what level of treatment they require. Simple colds, headaches, and stomach upsets can be dealt with just as you would at home, with over the counter remedies, rest and plenty of clear fluids. Minor cuts and abrasions can be dealt with using your first aid kit or the first aid facilities at your accommodation. There is something about being away that can affect your judgment on whether to seek medical help, and there are two likely causes. One is that you are so determined to enjoy the vacation you unconsciously refuse to accept that anything serious can disrupt it. The other is that you can feel less sure of yourself than when you are in familiar surroundings, and you worry that you are making more of something than it merits. The bottom line is, if you aren’t sure about the nature of the illness or the seriousness of the injury, it’s safest to seek medical advice. In some places, such as Colorado Springs, there are urgent care mobile health services that can visit you at your residence. This is more convenient than having to find and get to a medical facility in a strange area, and it’s a good idea to find out if this is a service available where you are going and learn more about how the scheme works.
Any serious accidents will need a 911 call, just as you would at home. Head injuries can be deceptive, because there may not be much evidence of trauma on the surface, but there could be damage or swelling to the brain which doesn’t manifest for some time. Never take any chances with head injuries – any loss of consciousness, even if only for a few seconds, and any symptoms of concussion need to be assessed at a medical facility or hospital. When it comes to judging the seriousness of illnesses, try to ignore the confusion of being in an unfamiliar place and think about how you would react at home. It can be scarier for the patient as well, being away from home when they feel unwell, so make them as comfortable as possible and don’t let their fear of being in a strange place affect any decisions you make regarding their welfare.
Making the most of your vacation
There’s no doubt that whatever form or severity illness or injury takes, it will disrupt your vacation to some degree. Something very serious may necessitate the cancelation of your trip altogether, but thankfully this is a rare occurrence. If someone is ill or injured, look after their welfare as your priority, but if you can get out, do so; don’t feel you have to martyr yourself and stay at the patient’s bedside. They will appreciate your care and attention, but they won’t want you giving up your entire vacation on their account. You might need to change your plans to ensure you can keep a check on the invalid, but there’s no reason everyone’s break should be adversely affected. It’s nice to spend some time with the sick person, maybe watching TV or playing board games – whatever they feel like doing. If everyone gets sick, that can be a bit of a nightmare, but with the nature of the way bugs and viruses spread, you’ll usually find that the worst symptoms will be staggered between everyone, so by the time you fall sick the first victim will be feeling better.
You can never be sure what fate will have in store when you go away, and how often do you comment on returning from vacation that you were lucky with the weather, or some other aspect of your trip? So, consider yourself fortunate if all goes well on vacation, but if the worst does happen, just look forward to getting home to recuperate in your own lovely bed!