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Medical Emergency: How To Be Prepared

Emergency Preparations If You Travel

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While traveling, it is advisable to be prepared in case you have an emergency that can be taken care of locally, and transportation coverage if you need to transported to a medical center or back home.

To prepare for medical emergencies while you travel, consider health insurance and practical steps to take.

Health Insurance

  • Check your health insurance to see what, if anything, is covered while you travel. You may also have coverage through a premium credit card if you charge the trip on that card. If you have such a card, check to see what is covered.
  •  Fill in the gaps with travel insurance that does not have a pre-existing condition exclusion.
  • To learn about what coverage is advisable to have, and how to get it, see Travel Insurance Post Diagnosis. 

Practical Steps

In case of emergency, carry with you a copy of each of the following which could prove vital during your trip:

  • A summary of medical records to be carried with your wallet or passport.
  • A written update of your condition.
  • A complete list of medications (prescriptions and over-the-counter) and dietary supplements being taken, including their dosages. (If you will cross time zones, recalculate medicine schedule with your doctor to accommodate changes.)
  • A list of your allergies.
  • A list of drugs that may cause adverse reactions to your medicine.
  • A record of your blood type.
  • A copy of your eyeglass or contact lens prescription (as well as a spare pair of glasses or contacts).
  • A letter which explains why you carry needles and syringes (if applicable). The letter doesn't have to give details about your condition, only that they are medically necessary to administer your medication.
  • A list of doctors, hospitals, and facilities that specialize in your condition in each of the areas you will visit. A Letter of Introduction from your doctor (addressed "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Doctor") may help get services you need.
  • If you may need oxygen during your travel, ask how to arrange it. Oxygen is readily available throughout the United States. Information on the availability of oxygen is available through:
    • The American Lung Association offsite link, Tel.: 212 315 8700
    • The American Thoracic Society offsite link, Tel.: 212 315 8700
    • The American Association for Respiratory Care offsite link, Tel.: 972 243 2272

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