Learn why you need to speak to your Doctor

Asking a doctor for his advice before your departure will make you a smarter traveller.

The Chubb’s Travel Survey conducted in October 2014 found that 39% of 525 respondents fell ill while on holidays. And, Chubb’s top travel insurance claim was medical expenses.

Who should you turn to in order to avoid a medical incident while overseas? Asking a doctor for his advice before your departure will make you a smarter traveller.

To have the most medical benefit, please see the doctor at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip, to allow time for your vaccination to take effect. Your doctor will make specific recommendations, depending on your health and immunisation history, areas of the country you will be visiting, planned activities and other factors. Please be aware, that some countries in Africa only allow entry with mandatory vaccination, like yellow fever.

For countries with mandatory vaccination, you have to carry the original vaccination certificate with you. In countries without mandatory vaccination, a copy of the vaccination certificate is sufficient and will help local doctors.

In Africa, several tropical diseases are mosquito-borne. Therefore, a potent mosquito repellent should already be part of your travel luggage. It is also reasonable to wear bright clothes with long sleeves and pants.

Another very effective method to prevent the transmission of tropical diseases is to use mosquito nets at night in the hotel. Usually, the nets are provided by the hotel.

The symptoms of stomach-ache and vomiting are typical of gastroenteritis, which is usually a viral or bacterial infection of the intestine. Gastroenteritis is preventable by practising safe hygiene of "peel it, boil it, cook it or forget it".

If you come down with gastroenteritis, the first step is to drink a lot of water to prevent water loss. Your doctor should provide you with a potent antiemetic drug, which should be administered as a suppository.

Another international recommendation is to take an antibiotic such as Ciprofloxacin. Taken at an early stage, gastroenteritis can be effectively treated.

However, if your condition deteriorates, you should visit a local hospital. AA-International will guide you to the most appropriate hospital in the region. As gastroenteritis is a very common disease in India, the doctors will treat you according to international standard.

It is important that the baby does not suffer from an infection of the ears or the throat before the flight. During the flight, chewing is an excellent method to open the connection from the throat to the middle ear. A pacifier or drinking during take-off and landing are my recommendations.

Tips: Pack along a medical kit appropriate for your needs. If you need to see a doctor locally, it is very useful when your insurance policy gives you access to a 24-hour emergency hotline by AA-International.

Disclaimer – The advice from this article is provided by the Chief Medical Director of AA-International, the 24-hr assistance partner of Chubb. The content of article is not intended to constitute advice or recommendations upon which a user may rely. Chubb makes no warranty or guarantee about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the content or of the information in the article. Users relying on any content do so at their own risk.