Prevention is always better than cure. Sometimes, falling ill on holiday or having an accident is unavoidable, but often it is our behaviour which contributes to the illness. There’s never any excuse for not taking out comprehensive travel insurance and applying online for your EHIC before you travel, so that if the worst happens, you are covered for whatever treatment you might need. In addition, there are several simple things you can do to avoid illness.
1. Don’t go overboard with the booze
Alcohol is a contributing factor in a huge number of holiday accidents and injuries. Drunk people fall from balconies, into swimming pools, get hit by cars or get into fights. Many insurance companies will also refuse to pay out if there is any implication that the claimant has been drinking, even if they have only had a couple of glasses of wine. EHIC cover will allow travellers to access state healthcare provision across Europe, either free or at a minimal charge, and cover is not refused to people who have had a drink. That’s assuming of course you’re sober enough to remember you have EHIC, have it with you, and remember to tell health care staff that you are covered.
2. Take care in the sun
We’ve become much more aware of the dangers of the sun in recent decades but it’s easy to underestimate the power of the sun when on holiday. Being hospitalised with severe sunburn is no fun, and special care should be taken with children. Always use a high factor sunscreen, reapply your cream regularly, drink lots of fluids and pay particular attention to children. If you do suffer from sunburn, minor cases can be dealt with by a pharmacist, and you won’t have to pay for their advice. More serious cases can be dealt with at hospital, but make sure you go to a public hospital to take advantage of your EHIC cover.
3. Avoid getting bitten
Mosquito bites are one of the most common health problems on holiday, so be prepared with lots of insect repellent before leaving home. If you know that you are prone to being bitten, take some antihistamine tablets and cream with you, or get some from a pharmacist while you’re on holiday. If you are heading to tropical areas, ensure you take advice on malaria prevention.
4. Think about food poisoning
There are endless jokes about getting sick on holiday and spending most of your time away in the bathroom, but it’s not funny when you’re the one who is ill. Avoid water from the tap or ice, and pay particular attention to chicken and seafood, which should be piping hot throughout. Mild cases of food poisoning are best treated by drinking lots of water and staying off solids until you are better. More serious cases, or cases in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children or the elderly are best treated by a doctor. EHIC cover can be used in this sort of situation.