Health Care Tips for elderly family members visiting the US

After a long period of waiting and many hours of planning, your family is finally visiting you in the USA. You have planned their travel itinerary and purchased insurance for their stay here. However your family members are visiting you in an alien environment for them.

The weather, the food available, the lifestyle is all new to them. Quite often your family members are elderly, and they take some time adjusting to these changes. The following are some suggestions which can keep their visit to the US healthy and safe.

All visitor health insurance policies will not cover preventative care or pre-existing medical ailments. You can overcome these limitations in visitor health insurance by having a health check up prior to leaving your home country. This will identify any lurking health issues for which you can take early remedial measures. In the event of an existing medical ailment, it is a good idea to get medications from your home country.

Children are excited to have their parents visit and would like to show their parents as much of the country as possible in a short period of time. You should consider the age factor of the visitors as well as the new environment that they are exposed to. Do not make exhausting travel plans all crammed during the 2-3 day weekend. Do ask the parents about their comfort level with your travel plans.

The following are some common ailments that travelers can experience. We have provided some suggestions which can help you while traveling.
Common Ailments

Common Ailments


People who suffer from allergies should take the same precautions on vacation as they do at home. Bring any medications used on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to bring an antihistamine in case of accidental exposure to a substance that triggers an allergic reaction.


The inflammation of the joints that occurs with arthritis may be especially troubling during long trips that restrict movement. Taking frequent breaks to walk around and relieve stiff joints and muscles can make car, plane and cruise trips more enjoyable. Remember to pack aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or any prescription medications you normally use for arthritis.

Blood Pressure

It is useful to buy self measuring medical devises. Electronic blood pressure measuring devices are easily available. Most of these are now accurate enough for routine clinical use and are relatively inexpensive.

Blood Sugar (Diabetes)

Even for patients who have a history of high blood sugar, it is good advice to purchase some home testing kits. These kits come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A pharmacist or the diabetes clinic nurse can advise you about the best model. You can usually obtain a blood glucose meter at little cost. You can learn to measure blood sugar levels simply and quickly with a home blood glucose level testing kit. All kits have at least two things: a measuring device and a strip. To check your blood sugar level, put a small amount of blood on the strip. Now place the strip into the device. After about 30 seconds it will display the blood glucose level. The best way to take a blood sample is by pricking your finger with a sharp lancet that is designed to penetrate the skin only as far as needed to draw a drop of blood.

Motion Sickness
Motion sickness is an unpleasant problem for many travelers; however, there are some over-the-counter and prescription medications available. If you wish to combat motion sickness on your own, try the following: When traveling by car, try to sit in the front seat and, if you can, avoid reading as it only heightens the feeling of motion sickness. When traveling by boat, sit as close to the middle of the vessel as possible and look straight ahead at the horizon, a fixed point that will not move. Today’s high-tech cruise ships are built for comfort, with stabilizers for smooth sailing, and most passengers experience little or no motion sickness. When flying, try to sit near the wing of the plane, or the side where you are accustomed to driving. Ear plugs also may help.

Extremes: Heatstroke and Hypothermia
To avoid heatstroke, stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time. By the same token, try to avoid unusually cold water to prevent hypothermia.

It's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a vacation and get dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and don't wait until you feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you even more.

There’s nothing more miserable than getting sick while on vacation. For most destinations, the major health risk to travelers is diarrhea, which may be easily avoided. In general, common sense prevails. When in doubt, steer clear of uncooked meat, raw fruits and vegetables and unpasteurized milk products, and drink only bottled water (although the tip of the bottle may be contaminated, so wipe it clean before drinking from it) or water that has been boiled for at least 20 minutes. If you begin to feel sick or develop a fever, rest and drink tea or purified water. Most cases of traveler’s diarrhea clear up within a few days.

Overactive Bladder and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
If you suffer from an overactive bladder or irritable bowel syndrome, you may require frequent bathroom visits during long trips. Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications are often helpful for the latter, and there are prescription medications available for people who may experience more severe symptoms. Avoiding stress, caffeine, and certain types of high-fat foods can help keep these conditions under control.

Animal and Insect Bites
If you are bitten by a wild animal, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Many animal bites require a tetanus shot and, in certain cases, a rabies shot. If bitten by a snake, lie as still as possible so not to spread the venom that may be present; then send others to get help immediately. Check your body for ticks. Remove any with tweezers and watch the area for rash over the course of the next few weeks. See your doctor if you develop abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, rash, cough or weight loss.
First Aid
It’s a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy for any emergencies that may arise during your trip. It should include:

A first-aid manual Throat lozenges
Bandages, gauze and tape Anti-diarrheal medication
Scissors Motion sickness medication
Tweezers Spare pair of glasses
Thermometer Antacid
Antibiotic ointment Insect repellent
Antiseptic Calamine lotion
Antihistamine Cortisone cream
Aspirin Sunscreen
Cold and flu tablets Health and vaccination records

Basic First Aid
Every year accidents occur. They can be prevented with some basic knowledge of first aid. Below are some of the simple first aid techniques which every one should know. These are only hints and guesses.

If it is weak and failing, give artificial respiration - mouth to mouth or mouth to nose.

Arrest the bleeding and protect the wound. Apply direct and indirect pressure. Cover with a dressing; apply a pad and a firm bandage. Elevate the wound site and keep at rest.

Immobilize the victim with a well padded stiff support reaching the joints on either side. Apply bandages on either side of the area and at the joints

Burns &Scalds
A burn is caused by dry heat and a scald by moist heat like steam, very hot water or oil. Immediately cool the area with cold water for 15 minutes till the pain subsides. Do not break blisters or apply anything on the burns. Cover the area with a sterile or clean cloth or pad or bandage. Give him fluids.

Nose Bleeding
Let him sit facing the breeze and the head slightly forward. Ask him to breathe through the mouth and not to blow the nose. Apply a cold compress over the nose. The soft part of the nose may be pinched close with the fingers for 10 minutes. Cold application on the back of the neck and forehead may help.

Bee Sting
Do not press the bag of the sting. Use forecep's to remove the sting. Apply cold or weak ammonia.

Animal Bites
Wash the wound with soap and plenty of water. Loose bandage may be applied and get quick medical aid.

Snake Bites
Keep the victim calm. Wash the wound with plenty of water and soap. Do not rub the area very hard. First apply a constrictive bandage on the heart side of the bite (not to be applied continuously for more than 20 minutes). Do not incise or attempt to suck the wound, get medical aid quickly. Try to identify the snake

Lay him down and loosen the clothing around chest and waist. Turn the head to one side. The legs may be raised a little. Do not attempt to give any solids or liquids. On recovery, a small quantity of a drink may be given and allowed to sit up and move after the rest.

If you are in doubt about the treatment then do not do anything as you may cause more harm to the victim.
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