Pre-Existing Health Problems
If you have a health condition that needs regular or intermittent treatment you should take enough medicine to last for the length of your trip, including foreseeable delays. Be aware that, in some resource-poor countries, locally purchased medicines may be counterfeit. Always take a copy of your prescription in case of loss.
When travelling with medicines etc always check what Airline Regulations apply. If the airline allows, carry your medicines with you in your hand luggage, to ensure they arrive at the same destination as you. In addition, if you take medicine by injection or in liquid form on a plane, carry a GP’s letter confirming this. A GP’s letter will also be required if your treatment involves controlled drugs (opiate painkillers, some tranquillisers) to avoid difficulties when entering countries; in some countries there is an outright ban on 'opiate' based drugs - for example, codeine.
If your illness or treatment is considered rare or unusual, you should carry a GP’s letter detailing the health problem and usual management of this.
You are also advised, if you have a health problem that could cause sudden incapacity e.g. epilepsy, diabetes, to inform at least one other person (preferably also going on the trip), so they can help you and make sure you get the right help, if needed.
If any of the following apply, contact your GP in case additional precautions are advised:
- The amount of medicines is more than that usually prescribed on a single prescription
- Your health problem requires regular medical assessment or monitoring e.g. blood tests
- Your problem can cause sudden incapacity e.g. epilepsy, diabetes
- You have impaired immunity e.g. HIV; treatment with immuno-suppressant drugs
- The health problem is so severe you have been admitted to hospital in the last year
- The medicines used in your treatment is novel
- Your health problem limits your ability to undertake physical exertion e.g. heart disease
- Travelling within 3 months of a major illness e.g. heart attack, or operation / treatment requiring overnight stay in hospital