Category Archives: Global Medical Alert

What You Need Not to Do in Order to Relax on Vacation

As many people plan winter getaways, they’re dreaming of leaving the hectic day-to-day existence behind and doing some serious chilling out. A break from their frenetic lives is just what the doctor ordered. And yet, the reality is that they’ll go away and will do very little relaxing, staying just connected enough to their life “back home” that the potential recuperative power of the vacation will be lost writes John Miller of the

Has this ever happened to you? Of course it has. We all do it. Sometimes we just flat out fail to ramp down our desire to accomplish stuff.

As always, we’re here to help. Here are some ideas that you need to leave behind in order to replenish your mind, body and soul when you’re on vacation:

  • (Do not) Maintain contact with the office. Staying up to speed with your entire workload is going to be very difficult; to do it well will require you to put in pretty much a full workday. So what’s the point of doing that? Either your colleagues will handle it, or it can wait. And don’t freak out about the email backlog that’s building. It’ll be fine. So leave the office behind.
  • (Do not) Stay indoors. If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time indoors – in the office, at home in front of the TV, etc., tethered to electronic devices. Vacation is a chance to break away and soak up some vitamin D from the sun.
  • (Do not) Over-plan so that you squeeze in more must-see stuff. This is a big problem for a lot of folks – over-planning and cramming too much into each day. Obviously, if you’re headed to Rome for the first time there’s a lot to see, and you need to check off some of those boxes. But you’re not going to see it all, so don’t make yourself frantic. Don’t be afraid to spend the entire week without a schedule. Really. Just try it.
  • (Do not) Go with family. A family vacation is nice; an extended family vacation can be even better. Or it can be psychological warfare. It depends on your family. But even the most united of families can get on each other’s nerves over the course of a week or two. If the goal is to truly relax, think about keeping your traveling party a little more intimate.
  • (Do not) Stay home instead. Fewer vacations mean that the holidays you do take have a lot of pressure to be perfect, which in turn makes it far less likely that they’ll be perfect. Putting that kind of pressure on your vacation creates stress. So use those vacation days. It’ll make you perform better at work – happier and more productive.

Reproduced with kind permission of the

European Union to take action over Spanish hospitals’ rejection of the EU Health Card (EHIC)

The European Commission is understood to be taking legal action against the Spanish Government over refusal of some Spanish hospitals to accept the European Health Insurance Card which provides all EU citizens to free healthcare in public hospitals across member States.

It is understood that some Spanish hospitals have been rejecting the card and have advised tourists that they must settle their medical bills personally or via their travel insurance, adding that the EHIC was not valid for treatment in Spain.

The gathering storm of H7N9 virus could be ‘one of the most lethal so far’

This Flu Virus COULD lead to the Pandemic (if human-human transmission occurs) we expected but did NOT get in 2009 from Swine Flu (if this one doesn’t we have H5N1 to worry about and a novel Corona (SARS like ) virus lurking!) writes Dr Charlie Easmon who believes that all companies should have a Pandemic FLU Contingency Plan for distribution that outlines

What is to be done at each stage of the spread of the disease in terms of:

Travel to and from certain locations (i.e. China)
What possible border restrictions may apply and when
What to do if a suspected case arises in another country (ie Afghanistan to UK)
What personal protection Measures (PEP) should be in place for which staff
where (ie masks etc)
What vaccination measures (seasonal flu vaccination and at a later stage
specific vaccination) should be in place when
What antiviral measure (ie Tamiflu) should be in place – To order Tamiflu we
need a signed letter on headed paper requesting an amount ( we will charge £70
per box but your own sources may be much cheaper)

What ADDITIONAL hygiene measures are to be put in place where (i.e. no hand
shaking, enhanced cleaning of door handles and computers etc)

For more information contact
Dr Charlie Easmon MBBS MRCP MSc Public Health DTM&H DOccMed by calling +44 (0)20 7580 5467

British Expat hit with €1,180 bill for one night in UK hospital

An Expat who paid taxes in the UK for 40 years was handed a whopping €1,180 bill for a one-night stay at a Bristol hospital. Read more at the Olive Press Spain’s No1 English daily news website

ALC Health at the Health Insurance Awards. Can we have your Vote ?

Voting for the 2013 Health Insurance Awards is now open and if you would like to recognise ALC Health at this year’s prestigious awards in the International Private Medical Insurance Individual or Group Provider categories, do please click on the red button and cast your vote

“thank you for voting, we really appreciate your support”
from everyone at ALC Health

ALC Health reports another year of record breaking iPMI growth

ALC Health (à la carte healthcare) today reported a 40% growth on individual and 35% growth on group business for 2012.

Andrew Apps, Director commented “Over the past three years we have seen a steady growth across all our target markets and with 2012 continuing to break yet more records for the company. Our boutique approach to customer service and competitive pricing structure has enabled our members to get the cover they need at an affordable price whilst enjoying the very highest level of personal service and support that has become the hallmark of ALC Health’s continued success.

2012 has been another leap forward for ALC Health and during this summer we will be adding further product options to our already flexible Prima brand of international medical insurance plans, offering even greater cover choice to both individuals and group scheme members. The past year was an exciting one for ALC Health and we are looking forward to pushing forward the boundaries even further”.

How to Survive Jet Lag

It’s only been eight grueling hours on a red-eye flight from JFK to Fiumicino Airport, and you’ve already gained additional luggage — a new set of bags under your eyes. Even though it’s a brand new day in Rome, you find little delight after a sleepless night, thanks to the overly bright reading lights left on by other passengers. Now tasked with the burden of fighting extreme fatigue, you grab your real bags and hope that you don’t pass out while touring the Colosseum.

Here’s a quick definition of every traveler’s number one enemy: Jet lag occurs when you disrupt your body’s regular sleep pattern by traveling into a new time zone. You may be familiar with the notion that your body operates on an internal clock that syncs with the cycle of the sun, meaning that when we wake up and go to sleep is determined by when the sun rises and sets.

Unfortunately there’s no way to completely prevent jet lag or make it go away with one simple solution. However, there are ways in which you can minimize the effects of jet lag when you’re traveling across time zones.

Before Your Trip – Your approach to jet lag will depend upon whether you’re traveling east and losing time or west and gaining it, writes the Training your body to stay awake longer or go to sleep earlier will be key to adjusting to a new time zone over the next few days. So in the days leading up to your trip, start to cheat towards the time zone you’re going to be visiting. This starts with controlling your exposure to both natural and artificial light. If you’re traveling east (which is more difficult to adjust to) turn on lights earlier in the morning so your body can get accustomed to waking up earlier. If you’re headed west, expose yourself to light at dusk and the early part of the evening to delay your internal clock.

During the Flight – For long flights, booking a red-eye can put you in the advantage for overcoming jet lag easily, since you can get a little sleep at a time when you normally would. Wear an eye mask or use earplugs to shut out extra light and noise to help you sleep. If you’re considering taking a low-dose sleeping pill or synthetic melatonin, talk to your doctor about what will be best for you.

If you’re traveling during the day, try to get as much sun as possible and stay awake when you arrive at your destination. Remember, controlling your exposure to light is the key to falling asleep or staying awake longer. By staying up with the sun, the natural light will help your body adjust to a new sleep schedule.

Additionally, drink plenty of water and say NO to caffeine and alcohol to avoid dehydration, which can make jet lag even worse. Even though you may think you can drink yourself into a peaceful sleep, alcohol actually reduces your chances of sleeping soundly, as it disrupts later stages of sleep. So don’t get snockered.

You Made It! Now What? – Once you’ve landed, avoid indulging in large meals – especially spicy ones – on your first day to prevent travel-related indigestion. Also, try to get as much sleep in 24-hour blocks as you normally would at home. If you arrive in Italy and it’s 4 p.m. their time, skip the two hour nap in your hotel room and stay awake until later, when the locals typically go to sleep. This will help you adjust to their time schedule, without the threat of becoming a nocturnal tourist.

With kind permission of the Healthy Travel blog

Race and country of origin impact on your sleep

Two studies have discovered sleep patterns are affected by your racial and ethnic origins. In the first study, of 400,000 people, those born in the U.S. reported sleeping longer than the recommended seven to nine hours per night. African-born Americans sleep six hours or less and Indian-born Americans sleep six to eight hours a night writes Bryony Ashcroft at  Continue reading Race and country of origin impact on your sleep