It’s the festive season which means South Africans across the country will be travelling to visit loved ones or to spend time with the family on a well-deserved break. But, while the hotel may be booked, the meals prepared and the fun ready to begin, travellers must not forget to take care of their and their families’ health.
The holiday season presents several unexpected health hazards that could see you ending up at the doctor or even hospital.
Akshay Persadh from TymeHealth outlines the most common issues to look out for:
“Gashes, bruises, bites, cuts and concussions are all common mishaps that could happen to you or a family member at any time while on holiday. While it is essential to take a medical kit with you while you travel, a plaster and some Dettol may not be enough.
“Often a visit to a GP or, if the injury is worse, hospital, is the only option. This can easily run into hundreds if not thousands of rands. Without medical cover this can seriously affect your holiday budget so it’s wise to get your insurance in place before you depart,” says Persadh.
Bites from bugs and other crawly creatures:
While mozzie bites are par for the course in warmer weather, a spider or snake bite can be serious. If you or a family member are bitten it is essential to get to a hospital right away. In the Eastern and Western Cape, for instance, puff adders are common – and they love the sun too, so keep your eyes peeled, and head to a hospital should a bite occur.
Burns and sunstroke
It’s natural to love the beach where you can lie on a towel, sipping something cold, for hours on end. But without adequate sunscreen or a hat and other cover ups, you could easily overdo the heat and end up with serious burns. Further, extended periods of exposure to high temperatures could lead to heat stroke, hypothermia, dehydration and hospitalisation. If you experience thirst, reduced urine and dizziness, hotfoot it to the nearest emergency room for assessment and appropriate treatment.
Watch where you step
Walking barefoot on the sand is enjoyable for most people. But if you are not looking where you are going, you could easily stand on a piece of broken glass or another sharp object. While blisters can easily be addressed through plasters and a change of shoes, if you cut your foot, you may require stiches. And that can only be administered by a GP.
“Holidays are a welcome time for everyone to wind down and enjoy some time off. For peace of mind, have your medical insurance in place before leaving your house. TymeHealth is a very affordable medical insurance provided in collaboration with the National HealthCare Group and that consists of 12 000 medical professionals around the country. This means if you or a family member run into trouble, you can visit a National HealthCare Group practitioner wherever you are in the country.”