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Sun, sand and…sick?

Advance preparation can minimize disruption if illness strikes during vacation travel

Lewisville, Texas (July 30, 2015) – Nearly half of all Americans have experienced the disruption of a trip due to an illness or injury serious enough to require medical attention, yet preparing for a health emergency isn’t high on their list of concerns when planning vacation travel. Those are among the findings of a new survey conducted by Kelton Global and sponsored by Teladoc, the nation’s leader in telehealth.

The nationwide survey of adults, conducted last month, found that 45 percent of Americans report that they or their travel companions have gotten sick enough to seek professional health care while away from home on vacation. However, more than half (53 percent) admit they don’t always bring their health insurance cards when traveling, more than two thirds (68 percent) don’t always pack preventative care items with their belongings, and better than four in five (82 percent) don’t always bring their physician’s contact information on a trip.

“It’s surprising that, in contrast to the time and effort that often goes into planning vacation travel logistics and activities, many people neglect to plan for a health event that has the potential to ruin an otherwise perfect trip,” said Dr. Henry DePhillips, Teladoc chief medical officer.

“Remembering to take a few simple steps ahead of time, such as packing your insurance card and physician contact information and making a checklist of all your medications, can minimize the disruption if someone in your party becomes ill,” said DePhillips.

He also pointed out that Americans today have the option of remote medical consults if they get sick while they’re away from home. Travelers can arrange a virtual physician visit through Teladoc, which provides 24/7 access to physicians via phone, secure video, internet and mobile devices.

According to the survey, the health issues most often mentioned by vacationers are, in order, colds/flu, stomach ailments, injury, allergies, extreme sunburn, rash, bites and heatstroke, many of which can be treated through telehealth. Nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents say their family member’s illness or injury resulted in the loss of at least two days of vacation time. And more than a quarter (26 percent) say they’ve experienced health issues that led them to seek care from a hospital or urgent care center.

Advance Prep for a Healthy Vacation

Following are tips to help keep sickness from ruining your vacation trip this summer:

1. Use your smartphone to stay connected to weather, air quality, pollen count and local news happening in the area you’re traveling in.

2. Traveling to the beach? Take sunscreen, bottled water, a hat and an umbrella to prevent sunburn. Headed to the mountains? Bring bandages, bug spray, allergy medication (if needed), and pain relievers.

3. Always remember to pack your health insurance card—and keep it close at hand. Take a photo of your card on your phone as a backup. If it’s an active trip, include it with your other essentials in a waterproof bag.

4. Keep travel-sized sunscreen with you and reapply throughout the day. Extreme sunburns constitute 17 percent of medical conditions that require people to press pause on their vacation plans and see a medical professional.

5. The number-one preventative measure to avoid getting sick from cold and flu viruses is washing your hands with soap and warm water. If this isn’t possible, make sure you have disinfectant wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

About Teladoc Teladoc, Inc. (NYSE: TDOC) is the nation’s first and largest telehealth platform, delivering on-demand health care anytime, from almost anywhere via mobile devices, the internet, secure video and phone. More than 11 million U.S. members are connected to Teladoc’s network of over 1,100 board-certified, state-licensed physicians and behavioral health professionals who provide care for a wide range of non-emergency conditions. With a median response time of less than 10 minutes, Teladoc physicians will perform more than 500,000 telehealth visits in 2015. Teladoc and its physicians consistently earn a 95 percent member satisfaction rating or better, and Teladoc is the only telehealth company to be certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its physician credentialing process.

Recognized in June 2015 by MIT Technology Review as “One of the 50 Smartest Companies,” Teladoc works with health plans, employers, organizations and individuals to provide access to affordable, high-quality healthcare on-demand. Teladoc is transforming the access, cost and quality dynamics of healthcare delivery. For more information, please visit teladoc.com, twitter.com/teladoc, facebook.com/teladoc or linkedin.com/teladoc.

About the Survey The travel study was conducted between June 29 and July 2, 2015, among a nationally representative sample of 1,016 Americans ages 18 and over, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey. For this sample size, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points.

Kelton Global is a leading global insights and strategy consultancy serving as a partner to more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and thousands of smaller companies and organizations. For more information about Kelton Global please call 1.888.8.KELTON or visit www.keltonglobal.com.

Media Contact:

Patty Sullivan 469.294.5096 pr@teladoc.com

Stephanie Wick 319.750.2248 stephanie.wick@fleishman.com 

gifographic from Teladoc travel study