Eight essential tips for preparing your summer travels with maximum health guarantees


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Eight essential tips for preparing your summer travels with maximum health guarantees

The Espriu Foundation, the second largest health cooperative network in the world, reminds you that, although summer holidays are synonymous with fun and well-being, we mustn't forget to consider our health when preparing for our holidays.

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The foundation, formed by healthcare institutions Asisa, Autogestió Sanitària SCCL, Lavinia SCoop and Instalaciones Asistenciales Sanitarias Scias SCC, insists that we must always consider medical-related aspects whenever we leave our normal environment. This habit is even more important when we travel to exotic locations such as Africa, Asia or Central America, where environmental conditions and hygiene are very different from Europe.

“Health and healthcare preparations are just as important as any other part of the trip. Especially when we travel to destinations that are very different from our place of origin, we must take all the precautions necessary to protect our health and minimise the risk of contracting communicable diseases,” says Carlos Zarco, Managing Director of the Espriu Foundation.

This is why the Espriu Foundation wants to give travellers these 8 useful tips to prevent two of the main risks when travelling. “On the one hand, risks from the journey itself, but on the other hand, we must not forget risks related to a person’s pre-existing illness,” says Zarco, in reference to chronic pathologies. The foundation’s recommendations include:

1. Get to know your destination. Understanding the conditions of where you are travelling to is essential. You must think about the climate, hygiene conditions and customs, sanitary conditions in buildings and waste water, any poisonous species and the main risks you will be exposed to, among other factors.

2. Find out about specific healthcare measures Vaccines or taking certain medicines are often recommended before travelling to destinations with a high risk of contracting communicable diseases due to exposure to factors that are different from our environment, such as various mosquitoes or insects, for example. We recommend visiting a specialised centre 6 or 8 weeks in advance.

3. Inform your doctor. You should always inform your doctor, especially if you are undergoing any specific treatment, as a clinical report may be necessary in certain cases in order to travel with your medicines and not have them seized at the airport or customs. And you must take enough treatment with you, so you may need prescriptions before you travel.

4. Take a basic first aid kit. Prepare a toiletry bag with basic dressings, disinfectant, plasters, mosquito repellent depending on the area, thermometer and painkillers as in some countries you won’t be able to get the same medicines as in Spain, or you may not know how to get them.

5. Check your healthcare coverage. You must know what healthcare coverage you will have at your chosen destination. When travelling outside Europe, you should take out travel insurance to cover all medical needs: doctor’s visits, obtaining medicine or even more serious aspects such as operations or hospitalisation.

6. Take special care with water. Water is one of the main sources of contagion, so you must find out about water quality and whether it is drinkable. Although you must stay hydrated during your trip, we recommend drinking bottled water, avoiding ice and swimming in fresh water as it may be contaminated.

7. Be careful with street markets and local cuisine. Although it may be one of the most attractive parts of the trip, food can become a nightmare if you don’t take the necessary precautions. The digestive system is very sensitive to changes so you should find out as much as possible about the conditions of anything you are going to eat. Avoiding raw meat and fish, eggs and peeling fruit yourself are the best ways to avoid gastroenteritis or other stomach viruses.

8. Consider your clothing.  Just like you take care of yourself inside, you must do so outside. If you’re going to be exposed to the sun for a long time, you must protect yourself with a hat and sunglasses, as well as sun lotion. You must also wear the right type of footwear for the type of trip and, if necessary, take a mosquito net for when you sleep or rest.

The Espriu Foundation also insists that each case is different and each person has different needs, so it is very important to visit a specialised centre for individual assistance.

The Comprehensive Travel Assistance Clinic run by the cooperative Assistència Sanitària at the SCIAS - Hospital de Barcelona, offers policyholders healthcare advice for travelling, such as adapting chronic medication to changing time zones, any necessary vaccines and other precautions that help reduce health risks.

The ASISA Group International Travel and Vaccination Medical Service offers medical consultations prior to travelling, guidance and information for travellers, specific vaccines for the destination and area of risk, updated routine vaccines, and post-travel check-ups.

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