Holiday warning: Medical expert shares what to do if you get ill abroad this winter

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Holidays abroad come with even more risks than normal during the coronavirus crisis. With winter on the way, further caution is needed. It’s key travellers are alert to what they must do if they get ill abroad during this time.

Preparation in advance is vital as well as knowing what to do on the ground.

Express.co.uk spoke to Jenny Derfler, CEO and founder of Air Doctor, a platform which operates in 52 countries connecting travellers to local private doctors when they fall ill abroad for her travel advice.

“Travel has opened up in recent months, but those planning winter holidays will be met with a new set of challenges and should take extra precautions to ensure they are able to access healthcare abroad,” said Derfler.

As ever, travel insurance is really important.

Holidaymakers must read their policy details carefully.

Numerous providers have altered their cover since the pandemic began.

“Many travel insurers are now excluding potential contraction of Covid-19 from their policies,” said Derfler.

“It’s important to do your homework and know what medical help is available in advance of your trip – both for suspected cases of coronavirus and for other potential illnesses.”

The expert urged sick holidaymakers to seek care from local doctors when abroad.

This will likely be more efficient than care centres.

“There has been speculation about the possible growth of COVID-19 cases as we enter the winter months,” Derfler explained.

“Many countries’ emergency care centres are likely to remain busy, with long wait times for those trying to access them.

“Where possible, if travellers can seek local doctors rather than relying on emergency care, they are likely to receive much faster appointments and treatment.”

Likewise, if you need emergency medicine, a local doctor is your best bet.

“It’s also worth remembering that UK telemedicine companies will not be able to write prescriptions that you can redeem while you’re abroad,” said Derfler.

“Again, if it’s possible you’ll need medication urgently, it’s best to see a local doctor or use a telemedicine service with a local doctor that is able to prescribe.”

Jet-setters should also fully brief themselves on what to expect at their destinations.

Countries have varying rules in place.

“For all travellers, our advice remains the same: make sure you are fully familiar with the guidance and the mitigations you’ll be required to take at your destination so you can prepare accordingly and not get caught out,” advised Derfler.

“Do you need to wear a mask in all public places, or just indoors, for example?

“And watch out for updates while you’re there as things can change very quickly.”

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