Health Squared medical scheme has you covered with this handy checklist to take the stress out of your holiday, whether you are spending it at home or travelling. “Over the festive season, there often tends to be an increase in medical scheme claims for accidental injury and illness. While there are certain precautions that can help reduce the chance of a health event occurring over this time, it is well worth taking the time to ensure that you and your family are prepared for the unexpected,” says Health Squared spokeswoman Bianca Viljoen.

A good first aid kit should include paracetamol, antihistamines, treatments for insect stings, antacid, rehydration remedies and burns ointment, as well as sterile latex gloves, dressings, plasters and disinfectant.

“The holiday season should be a time for rest and relaxation and being a member of a medical scheme means that you should not have to worry about unexpected healthcare expenses.”

To help make the summer holidays as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, she recommends that members pack the following items and take the following steps in preparation for their travels.

Prescribed medication

“Ensure you have sufficient amounts of any prescribed medicine before travelling and keep a copy of the prescription with you. People taking chronic medications, must stick to their medicine schedule rather than taking a ‘holiday’ from their prescribed treatment, which can be detrimental to one’s health and wellbeing,” Viljoen advises.

“When one is out of their usual routine on holiday, it can be harder to remember to take medicine and it is therefore worthwhile investing in a pill box marked with the days of the week or setting reminders on a cellphone to help keep track of daily medicine usage.”

First aid kit

A well-stocked first aid kit can make all the difference in being prepared for possible mishaps when you are away from home. A good first aid kit should include paracetamol, antihistamines, treatments for insect stings, antacid, rehydration remedies and burns ointment, as well as sterile latex gloves, dressings, plasters and disinfectant. Check whether any of the medicines and ointments have expired and restock as necessary.

“It is also a good idea to draw up a list of each family member’s medical information, including any allergies, medication and existing health conditions. Emergency contact numbers and medical scheme membership numbers should also be included as a precaution. Keep a copy of this information handy, either in the glove compartment of your car or in the first aid kit – or both,” she advises. 

Car safety and emergency services stickers on your vehicle

“It is always best to be prepared for worst-case scenarios, and this includes ensuring that your vehicle is equipped with a spare tyre, warning triangle and a few basic tools. Another precaution that should not be overlooked is ensuring you have emergency medical services stickers on your vehicle, which in the case of Health Squared members would be that of our designated service provider, Netcare 911.” 

Sun protection

Do not underestimate the danger or discomfort of sunburn over the holidays. Apply a high sun protection factor sunscreen frequently, even on overcast days, and ensure you have a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, neck and ears from the sun.

Medical scheme membership card and important numbers

“It is vital to keep your medical scheme membership card, which can be your passport to accessing your healthcare cover benefits, with you at all times – whether you are travelling or not.

“Members of our scheme are encouraged to programme the Health Squared call centre number 0861 796 6400 into their cellphone and ensure all their dependants have done the same. Keep a written copy of this number so that you can easily get in touch with us if you have a question about your benefits or require authorisation for treatment,” Viljoen recommends.

“We thank the dedicated emergency services and health professionals who will be working over this time. Let us make this a safe and enjoyable festive season,” Viljoen concludes.