As holiday decorations begin the countdown to the end of the year, we are sure your travel plans are in place and the younger family members are ‘counting the sleeps’ – be that a trip to the grandparents’ farm, a camping trip to the bush, or a self-catering cottage by the beach. As excitement mounts in the rest of the house, Dad double-checks the medical insurance benefits and the closest hospital, because – let’s face it – accidents and medical emergencies happen, even on holiday.
No matter how well-stocked your First Aid kit might be, when medical treatment is needed, it will never take the place of medical insurance. Accidents happen – whether at home, by the sea, or out in the bush – making a trip to the emergency room, a hospital, or GP a necessity, even on holiday. So please make sure your medical insurance premiums are up to date before the holidays start.
We’ve highlighted common emergencies that may require your medical insurance to save the day for you as you brave the ‘elements’ – especially on holiday.
The summer holidays in South Africa mean time spent outdoors. Kids run free and barefoot in the sand and grass, climbing up mountains and sandboarding down dunes. But we often forget the creepy crawlies that lurk in these habitats – scorpions, crabs, blue bottles, sand spiders, etc.
A camping trip, a farm stay or a beachside resort all harbour certain potential bites and stings. Most are harmless, and besides the element of pain and discomfort, are quickly eased by a mild antihistamine.
But a bite or sting may require a trip to the nearest hospital if the following symptoms occur:
- A rash accompanied by difficulty breathing or tight chest
- Spasms and shock
- A severe headache
- Difficulty remaining conscious
- Swelling around the sting
Make sure your medical insurance details are on hand on arrival at the emergency room or GP. Check the Ts and Cs of your medical insurance ‘out of area’ GP visits.
A holiday is not a holiday without summer braais, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, or a bonfire at the beach to see in the new year. But as the saying goes – ‘You play with fire, you get burnt.’ Accidents around a fire are a common holiday hazard, especially with children running around. Most minor burns can be treated with a burn kit, but often further medical treatment is required. Make sure your medical insurance benefits cover out-of-town GP visits and a hospital plan in case of a ‘burning’ emergency.
Always seek medical attention in the following burn scenarios:
- If a child younger than 5 is burnt
- If the burn covers an area larger than 7cm, or is in a sensitive (hands, feet, face, genitals or joints)
- The burn victim has a fever with a temperature of 38℃ or higher
- There are signs of infection
- There is blistering and the burn hurts if you apply pressure but doesn’t turn white
- A deep burn where the skin turns white, grey or black
No matter where you holiday in South Africa, the great outdoors and fresh air beckon. Lazy days at the beach, or inland in the bush, involve much time under the African sun. But as the sun beats down, many holidaymakers underestimate the potential medical danger of sunstroke/heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration. (Do not be fooled by cloudy days – the UV rays are just as harsh)
Heatstroke should always be considered a medical emergency requiring professional medical care. Stock up on SPF creams and consider upscaling your medical insurance day-to-day benefits to include a hospital plan that will suit your family’s needs.
Summertime is synonymous with fun outdoor activities involving watersports, surfing the waves and swimming. Unfortunately, it can also be a time fraught with tragedy, indicated by the increased statistics of holiday drownings among adults and children.
‘David Stanton, head of clinical leadership at Netcare 911, asserts that emergency medical services providers tend to receive more calls related to drowning and water-associated emergency incidents during December and January than any other months.’
Please be vigilant and never leave children unattended around water. Stay near lifeguard towers when at the beach and heed any warnings.
Day1 Health is practical medical insurance committed to addressing the needs of those who cannot afford conventional medical aid cover. Our benefits will not only cover you over the holiday period, but all year round, with plans to suit every budget and stage of life.
Day1 Health’s Day to Day Plan will allow 3 ‘out-of-area’ visits per family per year to an alternative Network GP or GP of your choice.
If signing up for a medical insurance plan, or upscaling is part of your holiday to-do list, be aware that most medical insurance schemes implement specific waiting periods that might impact any medical treatment over the holidays. Day1 Health’s Accident Cover benefit, however, is immediate – no waiting period involved!