Travelling with a child suffering from a heart defect does not always incur difficulty but it is always best to be prepared. There are some tips that should always be followed, such as having all necessary information regarding the child’s illness and diagnosis, along with their doctor’s contact details. It is also good to research your destination’s medical facilities in advance. Medicines’ dosages and active ingredients should be kept handy, just in case medicines have different names around the world.
If connecting flights are involved, it is a good idea to select ones that give you a couple of hours leeway. This is to give you plenty of time to go through passport control calmly and too seek assistance if your child needs it. Different airports have varying restrictions regarding hand luggage, and all medical equipment you are taking with you must follow these restrictions. It is advised that you bring a physicians’ letter of verification in case of questioning. When it comes to items such as blood feeding machines and food strips, it is not advised to keep them in checked luggage because they might be damaged.
When choosing a destination, physical restrictions must be kept in mind. Those suffering from high blood pressure should steer away from high altitude (generally 1,500 meters above sea level). Temperatures are also important, avoid places that are either too hot or too cold. It is a good idea to select hotels close to excursion sites because it will make for an easy return in case it is needed.
Citizens of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland should always bring a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to benefit from discounted medical care. These cards are available free of charge and only require an application form. However, it should be noted that this card does not totally replace travel insurance. It is advised to find out information about a country’s healthcare system, including vaccinations, especially if it is not in the EU.
Insurance must always be valid and the coverage period is usually 45 days. You should be prepared and knowledgeable about what to do in certain situations. Not being covered by insurance can result in fees building up and amounting to thousands of euros. You must keep in mind that an insurance policy typically covers only one person. So if your child needs medical attention that results in a missed flight, although you would also miss your flight, you are not eligible for insurance coverage, unless of course you have your own policy.
In the case of becoming ill whilst abroad, it is important to save all receipts and to get a medical certificate on the first day of admission to hospital. If you require help with an interpreter, an embassy is a good place to reach out to. If there is no embassy pertaining to your nationality, it might be worthwhile to contact another EU country’s embassy.