One in four vacations includes a trip to the ER: survey

November 21, 2016
A new national survey by Orlando Health finds 1 in 4 vacations include a trip to the ER. Orlando is not only one of the top tourist destinations in the US, but is home to one of the busiest emergency departments, as well, thanks to a steady flow of sick and injured tourists. Credit: Orlando Health

If you've ever had to seek medical attention for an illness or an injury during a vacation, you're not alone. A new national survey by Orlando Health finds one in four vacations includes a trip to the ER and doctors say many patients are simply not prepared for the situation.

"When you're going on vacation the last thing you want to think about is a , but with just a few simple steps, you can rest assured that you will be prepared for any situation" said Steven Corbett, MD, an emergency medicine physician with Dr. P. Phillips Hospital at Orlando Health.

Because it's located in the heart of one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, the at which Corbett works is one of the busiest in the country, treating more than 80,000 patients per year. "We really see the gamut," said Corbett. "If you can think it or imagine it, quite honestly, we've seen it."

The facility is so busy, in fact, that it offers overnight accommodations through the Cynthia C. and William E. Perry Pavilion to friends and family who bring in loved ones for emergency care. "We have an entire department that does nothing more than help the families and friends of our patients," said Corbett. "Not only are they welcome to stay here for a per-night donation, but we will ferry them back and forth to their hotels and even pick up their car for them from the theme park where they may have left it."

Corbett says many travelers make the same mistakes when it comes to medical emergencies on vacation, and he offers a few tips to make sure you're prepared for your next trip:

The video will load shortly.
This is one of the busiest travel times of the year - and whether you're going to visit family or take a trip to the beach, there's a chance your vacation might include a stop in the ER.A new national survey shows it happens more often than you might think. With details on the survey and six steps to keep your family safe. Credit: Orlando Health

Don't Force it - If you are sick or injured before your vacation begins, stay home. "I understand that we only get so many days off throughout the year and we spend a lot of time planning our vacations," said Corbett, "but I see people every day who think they can manage their conditions only to wind up in the ER, which ruins the trip for everyone involved."

Carry Your Medical Information with You - If you are dealing with a medical issue at the time of your trip or if you have a chronic condition, be sure to carry pertinent information with you. "You can store a lot of information on your phone," said Corbett. "Make a list of allergies you might have, take photos of your prescriptions and upload images to your phone like x-rays, MRIs or EKG results. The more information you can provide to us, the more efficiently we can treat you." There is a side note, however: be sure someone else knows how to unlock your phone and retrieve that information. "It's great if you have those things, but it does no good if we can't get to it. Make sure your phone is unlocked and the information is readily available."

Refill Prescriptions Before You Leave - One of the most common mistakes people make is that they run out of their medications in the midst of their vacation. Getting a refill in an unfamiliar place can be a challenge and going without your medication is never a good idea, so be sure you have enough to cover the duration of your trip. Also, in case your luggage is lost, be sure to pack all medications in a carry-on bag so you can have it with you at all times.

Speak Up if You Don't Feel Well - Corbett says many patients wind up in the emergency department because they didn't speak up when they first started feeling ill. "They don't want to be responsible for ruining everyone else's fun, so they don't just keep quiet," he said. "That can be very dangerous, especially if someone is having symptoms like chest pains or dizziness that can be sign of something serious. So, if something doesn't seem right, speak up immediately."

Invest in Travel Insurance - Healthcare is expensive and it's important to remember that your insurance may not work. Medicare and even some private plans don't cover medical costs outside the United States and the rules for Medicaid can vary by state. Corbett suggests investing in travel insurance, especially if you are traveling out of the country.

Everything in Moderation - Perhaps the most common mistake tourists make is simply overdoing it. "They spend too much time in the heat and humidity and get dehydrated, they're on their feet much longer than normal or they go on rides they shouldn't," said Corbett. "I treat hundreds of each year who would never have come to the ER had they only paced themselves." Drinking too much alcohol and overeating are common mistakes as well, especially indulging in exotic foods you're not used to eating.

Explore further: Heart disease doesn't take a holiday

Related Stories

Heart disease doesn't take a holiday

November 25, 2015
(HealthDay)—People with heart disease should take a number of precautions if they travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, an expert suggests.

Six tips for traveling with heart disease

March 25, 2016
Traveling can come with many different challenges when it comes to eating healthy, getting enough rest, and physical exercise. But having heart disease should not limit your traveling abilities; in fact, it's good for your ...

Uninsured children more often transferred from ERs than those with private insurance

October 21, 2016
New research shows children seen in emergency departments who don't have insurance, or who have public Medicaid coverage, are significantly more likely to be transferred to another facility than to be admitted for inpatient ...

Pennsylvania awaits ruling on Medicaid expansion

April 27, 2014
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has softened his rhetoric while he awaits a federal decision on his request to link a work requirement to benefits under the Medicaid expansion. It's an issue that has flared up in his hotly ...

Have a dental emergency? Your smartphone may soon be able to help you avoid trip to the ER

October 27, 2016
Have a dental emergency? Your smartphone may be able to help you avoid an unnecessary trip to the hospital.

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.