Tickets, check. Guidebook app, check. Gadget chargers, check. Medication, check. Emergency medical travel protection? If you said “check” to that, too, then you’re ready to go! But before you do, there’s one very important document you’re going to want to take with you (besides your passport): a personal medical history form.
Much like your SkyMed membership, taking along a personal medical information form is a precaution, especially in the face of certain sobering travel statistics: according to ConsumerReports.org, one in five Americans who take a trip out of the country will suffer an illness or injury while abroad. But what exactly is a “personal medical information” form?
When you’re in an emergency situation you may not be able to get to your medical records quickly—if you’re abroad, it might be downright impossible to do. A medical history form is a record of your medical care and other details about your health that will come very much in handy should the need arise. It’s very important for health care workers wherever you are receiving help to have a current, simple, and reliable source of information about your past and new health issues.
A sample personal medical information form would include your current physician’s name and number; hospital information; health insurance and/or travel insurance details; emergency contact information; your current pharmacy’s name and number; a list of current/past medications with name, generic name, dose, and frequency; a list of surgical procedures; major illness; vaccinations; dietary restrictions and allergies.
This might take a little preparation before you leave, but it will be well worth it should the need arise. Leave a copy behind with a trusted friend or family member and keep another copy or two with your passport and/or travel documents. If you’re traveling with a companion or a family member, make sure each person has their own medical history form and they know where you plan on keeping the info.
Don’t worry about having to create a form on your own: there are several places where you can download a personal medical history form or you can choose an app for even more convenience (here’s a search for “personal medical history app.” Before you leave, take a break from packing, print a copy or download the app, and fill in the blanks. It just might save your life.