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Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency while Traveling

Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency while Traveling

As we all know, Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year.  For 2018, AAA is estimating that more than 54 Million Americans will travel – this is the most since 2005. The vast majority will travel by car (90%), while the other 10 percent will travel by air, train or bus.  So whether your visiting grandma’s house for that traditional turkey dinner or planning a quick family vacation near or far, make sure you are prepared for anything that can happen. 

Most of us anticipate that quick trip or vacation will be all fun and games and are never fully prepared if someone gets sick or injured.  A visit to the Emergency Room is always scary but when you are in an unfamiliar city or foreign country it can be terrifying. Here are a few tips to help you take the right precautions:

Know how to get help  - We are trained from a young age to call 911 in an emergency.  However, if you are traveling outside the US dialing 911 will not get you very far. Do your homework before you travel abroad and keep an easily assessable list of emergency numbers for the countries in which you are traveling. Traveling with a Smartphone or GPS will minimize the stress of finding the closest hospital. Don’t hesitate to ask others to get help for you.  If language is a barrier, memorize key phrases before you travel.  Knowing how to ask for help or where the hospital is may make all the difference in an emergency.

Go Digital – Five years ago my husband found himself being transported by ambulance to the hospital while on a business trip in Florida.  At the time the idea of my husband toting around a file with his medical records was impractical if not impossible but that is no longer the case.  The transition to digital medical records and new computer software make it easy to take your family’s medical history with your wherever you go.  The HIPAA medical privacy law gives you the right to see and get copies of your medical records. If you are a Veteran, Uniformed Service Member, or Medicare Beneficiary you can use a program called Blue Button to download your medical history into a simple text file on your smartphones and personal computers. For the rest of us, just by doing an online search you can find many software options that make it easy to request, digitize, organize, and protect all your medical information right on your smartphone.   We recommend you take the advice of TripAdvisor.com editor Lesley Carlin and go on a “let’s digitize everything” spree before going on vacation.  She saved everything in an app called Evernote.  When her daughter was injured on vacation she whipped out her phone, searched for “insurance,” and had all the info at her fingertips. 

Make the best of it – Having a medical emergency while traveling is a game changer.  You need to be prepared to pack your bags and catch the first flight home, live out of a hospital room, or stay and salvage what is left of your vacation.  These situations are challenging and require you to mentally embrace a new reality.  You may have to be creative and improvise.  That is what Lesley Carlin did when her daughter ended up with a broken leg and they had days of vacation left.  She improvised — making ice packs out of frozen veggies, renting a car to simplify transporting her daughter around, contacting the hotel and finagling to borrow a wheelchair. She scrapped the plans for lavish day trips but still took short trips to local hot spots to retain the feeling of being on vacation. They made their time in the hotel room fun by playing games, renting special movies, and ordering in yummy treats.  And when it was time to go home, they arrived at the airport extra early so they could return the rental car, arrange wheelchair/cart transport, check bags, and do a more complicated TSA check-in than usual.

I hope you never have to use the advice shared today but a medical emergency can happen to anyone so it is best to be prepared.   Award-winning Amber Alert GPS is the leader in child GPS safety wearable technology and family safety. Our mission is to make the world a safer place for kids, providing family freedom without compromise. Combining the latest GPS technology and a feature-rich, easy-to-use platform for apps, Amber Alert GPS gives busy parents assurance of their child’s safety without sacrificing independence, whether at home or on-the-go.