Being ill on holiday can be terrible, but also very expensive. The most important thing is to ensure that you are insured; if you have to cancel part of your trip due to illness but have taken out holiday insurance, you may be entitled to compensation. In addition, you should always buy medical insurance; particularly crucial if you are travelling to a country such as the US, where the cost of care can be extremely high, particularly if you have to stay for a prolonged period.
The best cure is to be prepared in the first place. This can include;
- Applying for an E111 health insurance card if travelling within the EU.
- Having any necessary vaccinations and/or anti-malarial tablets. Check with your GP or pharmacist, and remember to do it early; some anti-malarials need to be taken at least a week before travel.
- If you are on regular medication, make sure you have enough to last you for the whole holiday, plus extra in case of emergency. Although you might be trying to save space by just taking foil strips, it is best to always take the original boxes and, if possible, the information leaflets. This will help any foreign doctor or pharmacist to see what you take and what conditions you have; trying to mime ‘high blood pressure’ can be tricky.
- If you are staying in one place for a while, make sure you know where the nearest doctor’s, pharmacy and A&E are so that you don’t panic if you have an accident.
Finally, it is good to know that case law states that you may be entitled to some more time off work. As your holiday is meant to be for rest and relaxation, if you are unable to enjoy it (for example because you have had a severe illness, not because your children were annoying), your employer should give you another holiday period. Obviously this will not apply in all cases, but if you have been seriously unwell, it may be a silver lining to an otherwise cloudy holiday.