Colin Wright, in his book, How to travel full-time, said: “…you’re essentially exposing yourself to a whole new swath of germs, bugs, bacteria, and other microorganisms.” He was referring to getting sick while travelling.
Recently I had traveller’s diarrhoea and was more or less house-bound for seven days. I lost six kilograms and days of enjoyment while recovering… on the Galápagos Islands of all places. I made the decision to visit the local hospital after feeling unwell for more than 48 hours. The emergency department at Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz gave me a prescription for six drugs to take. I guess they were used to tourist’s falling foul with upset stomachs as the doctor on duty didn’t ask many questions. Why do I mention this? Those six different medications had to be taken at different times throughout the day, and I would have been lost without an app reminding me (or more so my personal nurse aka my wife) what medication I had to take when.
I would like to use this article to recommend two IOS applications that have helped me (not only during our travels but also when I still lived in Sydney) to monitor and support my recovery back to health. These certainly aren’t the only ones available, just the ones I use.
Walgreen and RxmindMe Pill Reminder
This is an iPhone only based application that provides reminders for taking multiple medications. The application has several key screens to input or view data. The Medications screen allows you to add medications and their details, including but not limited to:
- Method (for example, oral, topical)
- Form (for example, capsule, liquid)
- Strength (for example, 500mg)
- Who it is for (as you get older, both you and your partner may have to take medication at the same time)
- Original quantity – this helps to work out how many are left and when to reorder them
- RX number (the medical record number used by the Pharmacy)
- Pharmacy (so that you know where you bought it in case there are any issues or you need to restock)
- It even allows you to take a picture of the actual pill pack or bottle.
The Reminders screen allows you to set the schedule for reminders – based on the inbuilt dosage scheme or by creating a custom one. The reminders are then displayed on a Today screen where you can see in a daily calendar format what medication to take when. You also receive a reminder notification (make sure your notifications are switched on for this app). You can tick off your respective medication on the Today screen once you took it, and the list item changes from red to grey. One neat feature is that you are able to export the data via email so that the recipient (such as your doctor) can see all the medications and when / if they were taken.
The application is currently freely available from the Apple AppStore. The big negative is that it seems to have not been updated since 2013. There may be a more feature-rich, more up to date application but I’ve found this one works for me. What application/s with these features have you used and can recommend?
My Pain Diary and Symptom Tracker: Gold Edition
This allows me to record my various aches, pains and illnesses. As with a lot of products, this was first developed to help resolve a personal health issue back in 2009. It is completely customisable to suit your specific tracking needs. With all the running I do, I like to record niggles, injuries, etc so that I can best work out how and why they may have occurred. This application helps a lot with that.
The Gold version costs USD4.99 (there is a free version with fewer features), but in my opinion, the Gold version is worth the investment. It has both the pain diary section and the medication log as well as an important event section. The medical log section is not quite as feature-rich as the Walgreen and RxmindMe Pill Reminder app, but I’m sure it will match and exceed it one day soon. It appears to be regularly updated.
A full feature list is on My Pain Diary/, so I won’t repeat it here. That said, the features I would look for in any medical application would be:
- Data security – using a passcode or similar
- Ability to save data to cloud-based storage – in case you lose your mobile phone
- Customisable data input fields – to meet your specific needs
- Ability to export certain data – for usage by a third party
- Ease of use – the last thing you want when you’re sick is a complicated app.
If you’re a women of child-bearing age: iPeriod by Winkpass
Sandra uses the free version of this comprehensive period tracking / menstrual calendar app. She has used it for years, so again, this app is not specifically for travel, but it certainly has been useful on our travels. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves what day it is because it feels like days, weeks and months just flow into one. It is a small issue, but in using the application, Sandra has a much better understanding of where she is in her cycle. It allows you to track moods and symptoms (to monitor PMS if you suffer from it) and is able to show the data in graphical format.