(87) Create a Travel Health Plan

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(87) Create a Travel Health Plan

When considering a cruise or any travel, it pays to prepare for potential medical issues with a personal health plan.

Make sure vaccinations are current . Some of the vaccinations recommended for frequent travelers include: Tetanus, Typhoid, Influenza and Hepatitis A and B. Visit the CDC Website for vaccination recommendations and consult your physician about personal risk factors.

If you have on-going health issues, always travel with a copy of your medical records, allergy alerts, blood type and a contact number for your personal physician.

Fill prescriptions before travel and always carry controlled drugs in their original prescriptions bottles. Take copies of your prescriptions as a second precaution. There are over 100 drugs sold in foreign countries with the same name as U.S. drugs, but totally different ingredients. Generic names are the same worldwide. Make sure you have the generic name for required prescription medications in case they require an emergency refill. Travel with a supply of over-the-counter medications for common medical problems such as indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and headache.

Know where to turn if something happens. Most cruise ships have limited medical facilities onboard. Most medical travel insurers provide a toll-free emergency telephone number, accessible from anywhere in the world, to help you locate a physician or hospital. Embassies and consulates are another good source for information about local medical needs. Locate embassy and consulates at cruise destinations at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/questions_embassy.html .

Join International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT). The worldwide organization produces a members' directory of English-speaking physicians in 125 countries. Membership is free at www.iamat.org and the physicians guarantee a set fee for an initial office visit.

Check your personal health insurance policy. Some seniors in the United States are not aware that Medicare does not cover you any where outside the borders of the U.S. Some private insurance policies provide international coverage; others do not. Contact your health insurance provider for information on what is and is not covered and how to handle medical claims abroad. If your health care company does not cover you during travel, a medical travel insurance policy is a must.



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