Taking Extra Care when Travelling with a Blood Condition

Many people live day-to-day with a blood condition or disorder, it often being something they periodically get checked out to ensure it is under control, be that through preventative measures or prescribed medication. But if you are doing something out of the ordinary it is worth giving some thought to your blood condition and not with holding any information about it, so you can get sensible advice and weigh up the risks of what you propose to do. Planning a holiday is a good example. Your condition may have a bearing on your choice of destination and how you get there. People with anaemia or diabetes should think about how they can maintain their diet and not over exerting themselves. Anyone more likely to suffer from DVT should bear in mind flights over 8-10 hours pose a far greater risk than ‘short hops’.

As well as applying commonsense you need also to think about taking steps if things don’t entirely go to plan. You can get specific blood disorder travel insurance from specialist travel insurers. They will have greater experience of and understanding of the risk your condition poses, so very often they are more competitive and comprehensive than generic insurers. If you can, select an insurer with its own fully confidential in-house medical screening rather than an out-sourced service.

A good specialist travel insurer will also give you some hints and tips on sensible precautions to help manage your condition when you travel and in foreign destinations. They may ask you to get your nurse or GP to confirm you are fit to travel, which can provide an opportunity to get further advice from a health professional and to book a check up on your return.

Adrian Emmerson, a trustee of Headway, a charity for people who have had a brain injury, and himself a haemophiliac, thinks people often assume they have adequate cover from a ‘standard travel insurance policy’ only to discover, sometimes too late, they do not. Mr Emmerson says, “I urge people to be very explicit about anything that an insurance company could deem has an impact on their health. The medical travel insurance specialist I always use is extremely professional, thorough and courteous. Their policies are very comprehensive and often cost a fraction of those from other insurers.”

There are simple steps everyone should take to stay happy and healthy when travelling abroad. It is advisable for anyone and not only those who have deep vein thrombosis travel insurance on a long haul flight to make sure you stretch your legs and get up occasionally to exercise. Stay well hydrated and avoid alcohol before and during a flight. Your clothing should be lightweight and loose fit for comfort and so underneath you can wear compression stockings. Finally, do not cross your legs.

If you take prescription medicines always pack some extra in case you are delayed or change your plans. Keep your medicine in its original packaging and take copies of your prescriptions so you can present them at check in to airport security.

Always carry with you copies of important documents such as your passport, insurance and credit card details. Just take a single credit card out with you and only a small amount of cash. Keep copies about your condition with you too and check out where the nearest appropriate medical facilities are, so if your condition worsens you know where to go.

When you arrive it’s sensible to watch what you eat and drink. It is wise to avoid tap water overseas. This includes drinks and ice cubes made from tap water. If you are at a destination where hygiene might be poor be careful with food and drink. Stick to steaming-hot foods, fruits that you peel yourself, bottled (especially carbonated) drinks, hot coffee or tea, beer and wine. Do not eat raw fruit and vegetables that you do not peel yourself, raw or undercooked seafood or meat, unpasteurized dairy products, or anything from a street vendor. Ask for a list of ingredients for unfamiliar foods. Some foods may upset your stomach but you will also find foods that give you a healthy taste of the local culture.

Take it easy when you first arrive, to get acclimatised and be equally kind to yourself on the way home too.

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