When the time comes for you to leave the surgery and step foot on your well-earned summer break, it’s worth taking the time to make sure you only bring back a relaxed smile and a glowing tan. Accidents, injuries, bugs or infections could affect more than just your time away, and some can have a long-lasting impact on your health, preventing you from returning to work when you get back. A little preparation before you leave could help minimise the risks for you and your family, allowing you all to return refreshed at the end of your break.
Most common holiday accidents
Bear in mind that as soon as the schools break up, roads become even busier, full of distracted drivers wishing to get away and leading to an increase in both traffic jams and accidents. So much so that one Saturday in late July - found to be the worst of the year - has been dubbed ‘black Saturday’ by many car insurers following the surprisingly news that there are nearly 30 per cent more road traffic accidents in the summer than there are in winter.1
In 2016 we paid over £120,000 to dentists who were off work because of road traffic accidents and over £500,000 in total for a range of sporting and other accidents at home and abroad.
Over the summer the media seems full of stories of unfortunate British holidaymakers injured from balcony falls in Spain or victims of motorcycle accidents on the roads of Vietnam. The problem is we all assume our holiday will go smoothly, without any such incidents ruining our time off.2 You may even be thinking what could possibly go wrong in a villa in the south of France? However, it is the unfortunate reality that thousands of British travellers have accidents abroad every year, many resulting in the need for urgent medical attention.3 While it’s not the cheeriest of thoughts, especially when we spend months looking forward to our holiday, but being both aware of, and prepared for, any potential risks could mean the difference between returning glowing in the warmth of a relaxed, incident free break or suffering an unnecessary illness or injury that could take days, weeks or even months to fully recover from.
The most common accidents on a summer European holiday are-3
If you don’t feel confident or are in doubt about the venue’s experience in offering these experiences, then the advice is to walk away and look elsewhere, as an accident could risk your ability to return to work in one piece.3
A member of Dentists’ Provident in their 20s went rock climbing and ended up off work for a month with a broken foot and ruptured knee ligaments.
It’s important to check that your European Health Insurance Card (formally known as an E111) isn’t out of date, as in most European countries you can be treated by their free or partially funded healthcare system. It could take up to two years for us to negotiate our exit from the EU, so we may not have this service after that. However, we have the facility available to us now and it might still be valid if we stay in the EEA as non-EU countries like Iceland can currently use them.5
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website is extremely helpful and provides comprehensive and up-to-date advice on what to look out for in specific countries, as well as providing details of the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission, for you to make a note of before you travel.
Their country by country detail can be a daunting read and could well put you off, however they do highlight potential health, environmental and terrorist risks, so it is worth at least having that knowledge before you go. Sri Lanka, for example, has dengue fever, so being cautious with mosquito repellent is essential, as is being aware of the times of year for dangerous tides, tropical cyclones and monsoons.6 Other risks to be aware of include the Philippines authorities reporting the existence of potential kidnapping attempts on the Sulu Sea and warning travellers and locals alike to stay away.7 Another example is Cuba who, in addition to Brazil and other south American countries, has been identified as also having a risk of the Zika virus.8
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website have also put together a pre-holiday checklist, some of which may seem obvious but it’s easy to overlook certain important considerations when you are rushing to pack for your break. Their list includes the following reminders.9
Taking a few minutes to make sure you are prepared for any known local risks while you are away can go a long way to ensuring that your well-earned break isn’t spoilt by unwelcome incidences, or that you are prevented from being able to practise when you get home.
References available on request.
This article is intended for information only. It is not designed to give financial or medical advice, nor is it intended to make any recommendations of the suitability of our plans for a particular individual. Full details of our contract can be found in our rules on our website www.dentistsprovident.co.uk. Dentists’ Provident Society Limited does not accept liability and responsibility for changes made to this information. Some of the information in this article has been obtained from third parties. While we believe the information to be reliable; we make no representations as to its accuracy and accept no responsibility or liability for any error, omission or inaccuracy in the data supplied by any third party.
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