On any trip health is a factor that must be considered. If you have health problems that you are aware of prior to arriving be sure to consult your doctor and receive all the help he can give you. Be sure to get a letter of permission from you doctor if you have to bring along prescribed medicine so you will not have any problems at the border. I have metal support in my lower back and I carry an x-ray so the bells going off are explained.
I have been contacted several times when a visitor may have a pre-condition and may require special attention. Be sure to tell your agent or if you are making your own arrangements be sure the vehicle rental companies and the accommodations you will be using are made aware. When I do the visitor’s booking I make sure everyone is aware just in case a problem arises.
Further along I will do a run down on what is recommended for the lengthy flight over and how to overcome any problems that may arise.
First let me discuss what to do once you arrive in New Zealand for your vacation and what to do if there is a problem.
First - remember - In an emergency in New Zealand, dial 111
What to do if you suffer serious illness or injury while in New Zealand you should:
First contact your travel insurance company.
If necessary, contact your embassy in New Zealand. They may be able to provide advice on local hospital or other medical facilities, contact your family and keep them updated on your situation, help contact your insurance provider.
Make sure to obtain a full medical report for your insurance company
Be sure to inform your family and friends
New Zealand General Information for your health
Health Line: There is a free 24-hour phone service called Health Line (0800 611 116) which provides free health advice 24 hours a day for anyone who is unsure whether they or the people they are with need medical attention and is staffed by registered nurses and is free.
New Zealand weather is extremely variable at the best of times. Weather conditions can alter drastically so be prepared for any temperature.
In warm, wet areas sand flies and mosquitoes can become pests. Although they are not dangerous, it is best to carry insect repellent, especially in National Parks and marsh lands. Check with local pharmacies in New Zealand for what they recommend. I found the stronger the better.
Some rivers, lakes and streams contain Giardia, a water parasite which causes severe diarrhoea. Always boil or purify lake or river water before drinking. They may look clean but don’t count on it.
Sun Protection: New Zealand has an extremely high UV rating and care should be taken when spending prolonged periods in the sun. Sun hats and sunscreen should be worn if you are planning on spending longer than 15 minutes outdoors. We get the direct rays here without the overhead protection so getting a sun tan here is actually destroying your skin.
Makes sure you get a letter from your doctor to explain any medicines you have to carry with you as you enter the country. Not a bad idea as you go back to the US either upon your return.
Contacts: A full list of local medical and healthcare contacts can be found in the front of the local telephone book.
Visitors to New Zealand do not require vaccinations. Diseases carried by insects - such as Malaria, Dengue Fever and Ross
River virus – are not found in New Zealand.
Hospitals in New Zealand are world-class, though treatment for non-New Zealanders is not free except if you have an accident. There are smaller clinics available throughout the country in small towns.
Pharmacies: Pharmacies or Drug Stores, located in every town or city, are known as “chemists” in New Zealand. Pharmacists in New Zealand are trained professionals and the level of care and service is world-class.
Medication: Although some drugs can be purchased over the counter, most require a doctor’s prescription. Basic pain killers, vitamins and first aid supplies (such as band-aids) can be purchased at pharmacies or most supermarkets.
Open Hours: Most chemists or pharmacies are open during regular business hours (9am to 5pm), with some open after hours. Sundays though will pose a problem in most small communities.
For Trampers in our Mountains:
Be aware of the fact these are real mountains and real mountain conditions with rapid changes of weather causing many a visitor to wish they had not gone of that hike without thinking. Even on short hikes it can be easy to get lost. Not a bad idea to always have water and your phone…..
When travelling into the real backcountry or alpine regions of New Zealand, always:
Fill out an Intentions Form at the local Dept of Conservation office.
Check the upcoming weather reports
Carry sufficient warm clothing, equipment, food & water
Beware of rivers - know how to cross them and 'if in doubt, stay out'
Where to find health services
New Zealand has 40 public hospitals and around 3,200 GPs (General Practitioners, also known as your family doctor). There are also hundreds of specialists and private health services throughout the country.
Details of the health services in every area are listed in the local telephone directory, known as the White Pages. Some specialty services are also listed in the Yellow Pages. You can access this information at Yellow Pages online.