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  Elderly travellers

Before leaving

Life expectancy is increasing, the retirement age is getting older and senior citizens are travelling more and more.  It’s essential to get a medical check-up before your departure, as this will enable both the doctor and traveller to judge whether or not the trip is even possible. It will also allow verifying whether all vaccinations are up to date and to list the medications necessary to take along, most particularly if: 

  • You are prone to catching colds, sinusitis or otitis.
  • You suffer from a chronic illness, especially: insulin-dependent diabetes, asthma, allergies, epilepsy, drepanocytosis, respiratory, cardiac or renal  insufficiency.
  • You are following a treatment for cancer or immune deficiency.
  • You suffer from panic attacks (agoraphobia or claustrophobia).
  • You’ve recently had an operation, particularly in the case of coronary insufficiency (angioplasty or a bypass operation), glaucoma, detachment of the retina, or an inner ear ailment.
  • You suffer from renal colic.
  • You feel angina pains.
  • You are taking long-term medication for something.
  • You cannot climb stairs without getting out of breath.
  • You suffer from a recent vascular cerebral accident.
  • Your doctor discovered that you have an irregular heartbeat, that could likely lead to a fainting fits.
  • You wear a pacemaker.

In case of a chronic illness or complicated previous medical history, ask your doctor to write a medical report, preferably in English, that summarises your situation (background, description of your illness, past cases, results of recent tests, etc.) and mentions your usual treatment.

Never deviate from your usual treatment, not even in the airplane. Always have it with you and take along a duplicate of your prescription specifying the international name of each of your medications: the DCI (common international name). For example, the DCI of aspirin isacetylsalicylic acid. This way you can replace it or quickly find its equivalent wherever you are.

Choose a destination

Carefully choose your type of holiday. Flying and vacationing at high altitudes, even in large cities like Mexico City and La Paz, could provoke an imbalance in a cardiac or respiratory deficiency problem that is normally well-balanced and under control.

Time difference is an important criteria that must be taken into account when taking certain medications like insulin. Have your doctor explain the best way to go about this.

In tropical countries, dehydration related to excessively hot temperatures and more particularly to traveller’s diarrhoea, can be very serious. It’s essential that you adopt strict hygiene practices – regularly wash your hands with soap and water, only drink bottled mineral water, drink at least 2 – 3 litres of water a day, peel all fruits, avoid eating raw vegetables, shellfish, reheated meals and raw meat.


During the preparatory visit, make sure your doctor checks your vaccination booklet, notably for standard vaccinations and those that are more specifically related to your travel plans.

All travellers must have up-to-date vaccinations for tetanus, polio and diphtheria. Other vaccinations will depend on where you are going and on the travel conditions. Even if it is not legally required, getting a Yellow Fever vaccination is indispensable if you plan to travel to an endemic region (tropical Africa, South America). If necessary, contact the vaccination clinic closest to you.

During your trip

Developing symptoms of phlebitis is likely particularly during prolonged trips on a bus or airplane.  Do not remain stationary for too long and drink water regularly, at least one litre every four hours. If you cannot get up and walk around often, don’t hesitate to do some exercises in your seat to work the main muscle groups of your lower body, your calves and thighs. Follow these exercises by periods of long, slow breathing. Wearing support stockings can be very helpful during long trips and in fact necessary if you have varicose veins or recognized circulation problems. Don’t overdo it on alcohol including wine, which accelerate dehydration and the onset of vascular troubles. 

Once you have arrived, follow the habitual instructions: wash your hands frequently, avoid bathing or walking in stagnant water and protect yourself from the sun and mosquitoes.

If you have any problems whilst travelling, don’t wait until you get home to consult a doctor. Allianz Global Assistance’s emergency medical team is available to discuss any questions or doubts you may have about your health. We can provide useful advice and organize a consultation wherever you are.

Preventing Malaria

Before travelling, it is of primary importance that you are aware of the risks of malaria and how to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. Your doctor will provide you with all the necessary information and will prescribe a preventive treatment adapted to your particular situation.

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Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance is underwritten by AWP P&C S.A. - Dutch Branch, trading as Allianz Global Assistance Europe with offices at Poeldijkstraat 4, 1059 VM Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Registered at the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) Nº 12000535, Corporate Identification no 33094603

AWP P&C S.A. is authorised by Autorité de Contrôle Prudential in France and is regulated by the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finanstilsynet) for the conduct of business in Denmark.