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Updated 03 November 2015

Health tips for the holidays

With the December holidays fast approaching, here are a few important health tips.

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Come holiday time, most of us are focused primarily on packing our swimsuits and that novel we never got to read.

Dr Jacques Snyman reminds us that medical costs, especially in a foreign country, can be costly.

Run through the following important health tips before you depart.

1.     Pack your medical scheme membership card.

2.     Make sure you know where the closest Designated Service Provider (DSP) for hospitals and doctors is before you leave. Be sure to save the relevant doctors numbers on your cellphone.

3.     Make sure you have your emergency service stickers on your vehicle.

4.     Carry these important numbers along just in case you need to contact your medical scheme or get authorisation for a procedure:

•             Medical Scheme contact number

•             Contact number for your doctor

•             Emergency services number

5.    Make sure you have sufficient chronic medication to last you the entire period that you will be away. Ensure that these are clearly labelled and kept out of reach of children. Some countries' custom officials require a doctor's prescription to accompany some medication before you're allowed in, so be sure to pack that too. 

6.     Sunscreen is a must. With sun exposure at its highest in summer, take extra care of your skin.

7.     Pack a basic first aid kit. It should include gloves, scissors, bandages, gauze and safety pins. Remember headache medication as well as something for allergies and insect bites – your pharmacist can assist you with these. Remember Malaria areas! Consult your GP regarding prophylactic treatment. When on the beach, remember that blue bottles and some jelly fishes may cause intense pain if touched and even may result in allergic reactions. 

8.     Make sure you know where the closest Centre for Disease Control is based. The website has a detailed map that indicates where your closest centre is situated http://www.cdc.gov/.

9.     Remember the basics like keeping well hydrated, washing your hands regularly and eating from food outlets where food is hygienically prepared.

 
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