Health and Safety abroad

Health

If you need a doctor, look up ‘Physicians and Surgeons’ or ‘Clinics’ in the Yellow Pages. You will have to pay, in advance, a consultation fee of between $50 to $100, but this is still cheaper than going into hospital. Remember to keep all receipts for insurance purposes so that you may reclaim your expenses.

For Emergency Services, the telephone number is 911. You will receive immediate treatment if you need it, but you will be expected to settle any fees later.

US laws are tighter on medicines than in the UK. For example, many basic painkillers that are freely available in the UK can only be acquired with a doctor’s prescription. If in doubt, ask for advice from the pharmacy department in any drugstore.

European travellers do not need any inoculations before travelling to the US, but make sure you are up to date on routine immunizations, including tetanus -diptheria, measles, chicken-pox and influenza.

health-safety

There are some other dangers to be aware of:

Heat/Sunstroke – Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm and drink plenty of water. If you suffer from any of the symptoms – nausea, headache or light-headedness – then move into the shade, or better still, get to an area with air conditioning to cool down.

Jet- Lag– This occurs when a long flight crosses more than one time zone. The main symptoms are fatigue and loss of appetite. Once you reach your destination, adjust your habits immediately to the local time. Do some light exercise and try not to nap.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – This has been linked to long haul flights. Sitting still for a long period of time reduces circulation in the legs, which can in turn lead to blood clots. Symptoms usually include pain, swelling and warmth. DVT is quite rare, and you can reduce the risk even further by walking up and down the aisle and flexing the leg and arm muscles. Those at higher risk include diabetics, pregnant women and overweight passengers.

If you are worried about your health, speak to your GP. For more advice, visit  https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health.

SAFETY

Crime

Despite America’s high crime statistics, visitors should not be overly worried. Tourist hotspots are usually busy, well-lit and with a high police presence.

The main threat to visitors is petty theft, and as usual the best way to avoid this is to adhere to common sense advice:

– Exercise caution at night, especially in parking lots.
– If you need to use an ATM, do so in a well-lit, busy area.
– Don’t carry lots of cash, and you may want to keep a small amount in your front pocket to give a mugger if you do get attacked.
– Keep valuables out of sight in your car or hotel room; if at all possible keep them locked away. Make use of the hotel safe if there is one.
– Don’t open your hotel door to strangers – double check that they are from housekeeping or room service if that’s what they claim.
– Keep the doors locked, even if you are in your room or as you are driving.
– if someone flags you down, don’t stop even if they bump into your car, or at least wait until you reach a busy area.
– When paying by Credit Card, make sure they run it through the machine in-front of you
– If you really are lost, choose the person you ask carefully and do it in a well-lit and crowded street. Perhaps the best people to ask are shop staff as they are most likely to know the area anyway.
– Try not to get drunk, however friendly the locals may seem!

Water Safety

Here again, the best way to avoid getting into trouble is to use good judgement:

– Never go in the water if you’ve had too much to drink
– Avoid swimming at night or alone
– Take note of any signs advising you of strong currents, and always swim between the flags.
– Don’t swim after a meal or you are more likely to get cramps.
– If you do want to relax on a lilo or other inflatable, take care not to drift out too far from the shore