Good preparation is essential for everyone to travel carefree. If you have a medical condition, you may need to take extra precautions or take a slightly different approach during your preparations. In this blog you will read how to best prepare for your trip if you have a medical condition.
General travel tips for travellers with a medical condition
To begin with, there are many different types of medical conditions and within those, the severity of the condition can also vary from one person to another. As a result, your experience may be different from other people’s. For this reason, the travel nurse at vaccinatiecentrum.nl will always assess with you which vaccines and other precautions are best suited to your situation. If in doubt about the health risks at your destination and how you can deal with them, always consult your doctor or specialist.
On our website, you will find special pages with extra travel advice for travellers with specific medical conditions. That overview of medical conditions can be found here. In this blog you will read the general advice that applies to almost everyone with a medical condition.
Choose your destination thoughtfully
Depending on the severity of your medical condition, it may be wise to involve your doctor early on in your planning process, for instance while choosing your travel destination. One reason for this is that some countries require you to be vaccinated with a live attenuated vaccine (e.g., the yellow fever vaccine). If you have to take immunosuppressive medication you cannot get these types of vaccines. There is also a risk that the vaccines you can get may not work as well if you are taking immunosuppressive medication. This increases the risk of contracting the disease.
Therefore, check which diseases are common in the areas you might want to travel to and see if you can safely take the vaccines recommended for these areas. If not, it’s better to choose a different travel destination.
Check your travel insurance policy
Have you already got travel insurance? If you need medical care during your trip, it is reassuring to know that the costs will be covered. That way, you won’t be faced with unpleasant surprises afterwards in the form of a high bill. Before you travel, always check that your travel insurance will cover the cost of any unexpected things that might happen in relation to the risks you face during your trip.
Make sure you are allowed to take your medication with you
Many medications are not allowed to be taken abroad, especially if they fall under the Opium Act. Therefore, check the CAK website to see what rules apply to the medication you need during your trip. You may need to bring a medicine declaration and/or Schengen declaration or contact the embassy to find out exactly what the rules are. Do this not only for the country you are travelling to, but also for all countries you travel through. If it turns out that you need a medication declaration and/or Schengen declaration, you should apply for these in time. CAK recommends doing this no later than four weeks before departure. Important to know: for medication covered by the Opium Act, you must always arrange a Schengen declaration. This is required even when travelling to Germany or Belgium.
Take a travel medicine kit with you
Because of your medical condition, you may be at an increased risk of getting sick and developing complications. Therefore, it is wise for you to take a small travel medicine kit with you, so that you have the most important medication you may need during your trip at hand. A travel medicine kit may include:
- DEET or other insect repellent
- Impregnated mosquito net
- Diarrhoea inhibitors
- First-aid kit
- Medication to relieve itching after mosquito or jellyfish bites
- Medication for seasickness, car sickness or air sickness
- Tick tweezers
- Thermometer (preferably digital)
And, of course, any medication you need to take because of your medical condition or need to have on hand for emergencies. Sometimes it is wise to take additional medication with you when you travel, such as malaria pills. During a travel consultation at vaccinatiecentrum.nl, we will discuss whether this is necessary for you and write the prescription for this medication.
Get your vaccinations well in advance
Once you have chosen a destination, it is best to contact vaccinatiecentrum.nl as soon as possible for a consultation. During the consultation, one of our travel nurses will look with you at which vaccines you need and what medication you want to take with you on your trip. Some vaccines consist of multiple vaccinations that require a certain amount of time in between, for this reason it is important to arrange this well in advance. In some cases, a blood test is needed to determine whether you are actually protected against certain diseases. Again, it is advisable to make an appointment in time!
Make sure you have a plan for emergencies
You usually assume that your trip will not be disrupted by medical problems, but it is wise to have a plan in case something does happen. For example, find out which hospitals are near your travel destination and make sure you have the address details at hand. Also bring the contact details of your own doctor and consider bringing an explanation of your medical condition in English. Should something happen that requires medical attention and you are unable to explain your medical condition yourself at the time, your travel companions can hand over the written explanation.
Enjoy your trip!
If you are well prepared you will travel with peace of mind. Vaccinatiecentrum.nl is happy to help you prepare. Together we will ensure that, despite your medical condition, you will travel and return as healthy as possible. Make an appointment for a travel consultation as soon as possible so we can take the necessary measures on time.
This blog was published on 5 December 2023.