Travel planning concept, coronavirus and quarantine. Mock up of smartphone with airplane model, face mask and hand sanitizer spray. Top view with copy space. Source: iStock.com/Allchonok

Start your vacation safe and carefree: health apps, coronavirus check list

18. August 2020 Published by Jana Greyling

Your bag’s packed, you’ve gone through the recommended packing list. You’ve bought the toll badge in the ADAC shop and the Telepass ticket for the Brenner motorway. The car has been inspected and all set for the long drive south, the tire pressure’s good, vests, bandages and the warning triangle are in the car, as required, and ready to hand. So far, so good. But in times of the coronavirus crisis, it’s not just the personal packing list for the summer vacation that’s gotten longer – all medical and health data now also belongs in your luggage, or, to be more precise, saved digitally on your smartphone.  As part of our new blog series all about health apps and fitness apps, we are presenting a number of selected apps to you today that not only make your trip easier but are absolutely necessary.

You can never know where and when the virus will strike. Prevention is better than being left out in the cold, since the hotel or the part of town you’re staying in can be affected overnight, and then the run on disinfectant and face masks at the local supermarket or chemist will really take off. It also became clear at the start of the coronavirus crisis just how fast a drug shortage can occur. A nightmare for everyone suffering from a chronic illness and being regularly dependent on drugs. That’s why it’s important this summer to think of everything and have it all with you.

The coronavirus travel check list

Everyone knows that Naomi Campbell is frightened of germs and prefers to meticulously clean the seat on the plane wearing rubber gloves and wipe everything with disinfectant cloths before she sits down. Better safe than sorry is advice that everyone should take seriously at this time. That’s why there are a number of important items that are essential for your summer vacation this year in your first-aid kit. We’ve put together what they are in the Coronavirus vacation check list.

  • Face mask: The German Öko consumer magazine recommends disposable masks during the coronavirus crisis. The rule of thumb for using them: Each traveler should use one mask a day.
  • Disinfectant: Is an absolute must in the first-aid kit. Disinfectants labeled as “effective against viruses” are recommended. Smaller bottles are helpful when you’re out and about and a larger bottle in your luggage to top up the smaller ones.
  • Disinfectant cloths – for surfaces and hands. Always clean your hands thoroughly after stopping at a service area or refueling. In general, the car should be treated like an indoor space. When getting into the car, especially disinfect surfaces like the steering wheel and the doors, and use a hand disinfectant before getting back in.
  • Thermometer: Often gets left behind, but is frequently needed especially in times of the coronavirus. After all, without knowing the actual body temperature, it’s hard to decide whether to wait or visit a hospital. Cold remedies that have already proven effective in your regular daily life should also be included in the first-aid kit.
  • Disposable latex gloves: Although they are not necessary in most situations, they are definitely advisable for single use at the supermarket. They might also prove useful in public toilets or other public spaces. If you do wear latex gloves, do not touch your face while wearing them, and dispose of them immediately after use.
  • Hand soap: Soap is effective because it attacks and breaks down the protective lipid layer of viruses that contains the genome of the virus. Whether it’s liquid soap or the good old bar of soap, the motto for this summer is ‘not without my soap’.
  • Towels: Rubbing with a towel removes additional germs that are still on the hands. That’s why it’s important to also change the towels regularly. You can wash your hands as thoroughly as you want, but it won’t be much use if they then end up in a grubby towel. To ensure that the germs on the hands don’t end up in your mouth and nose, it’s important to use an extra towel for the different parts of the body – using a general towel for the entire body should therefore be avoided. The German AOK health insurance provider recommends a separate towel to dry your hair, since scalp lipids can accumulate on it.
  • Paper bags: Paper bags are porous and breathable, which makes them better suited for decontamination than plastic bags.

Don’t forget: European Health Insurance Card

Even though it almost goes without saying, you shouldn’t forget important documents. Everyone with statutory health insurance in Germany is also entitled in Europe to urgently required treatment by doctors, dentists and in hospitals that are approved by the foreign statutory health insurance provider. For that you must take the following documents with you on vacation.Gesundheitskarte

  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
  • Take out travel health and repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay abroad.
  • Important phone numbers and the address of the GP or specialist, or the hospital in which you were last treated. You should preferably always also save the e-mail address on your smartphone.

Health data on the smartphone

According to a Forsa survey, 69 percent of German citizens don’t know when their next vaccination is due and many head off on vacation without their vaccination certificate, because they don’t even have one. “If it doesn’t help, then at least it can’t do any harm: That’s the principle many Germans seem to follow when taking drugs. On top of prescribed drugs, 69 percent also take other pills – without consulting their doctor,” as the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reports, referring to a representative survey of 1,000 German citizens. It then gets awkward when the doctor at your holiday location wants to know what drugs you’re taking, what dose, or which you’re allergic to. You don’t speak the language, the doctor doesn’t understand much English, and even the shrug of the shoulders recognized the world over doesn’t solve the problem. It’s better if you have all the important medical data with you, in digital form, and on your smartphone. Personal information about your health and illnesses always up-to-date and to hand anywhere and anytime is what numerous apps promise, saving key data and information on vaccinations and doctor’s visits, as well as medication data, emergency ID and vaccinations.

Among the most well-known are the Take-Safe app from the Techniker Krankenkasse health insurer and the Vivy app that is supported by a whole series of private and statutory health insurance providers such as Allianz, Barmenia or DAK for their policyholders.

Want to just check when your next tetanus vaccination is due? Or when you last took an antibiotic? No problem with TK-Safe. In the Techniker Krankenkasse digital health record you can find your current vaccination status and the various prescribed drugs. TK-Safe turns your smartphone into a digital data safe. The bad news is, the app is only available for Techniker Krankenkasse policyholders.


Vivy – Deine Gesundheit, dein Leben, deine App (your health, your life, your app)

That’s how the app advertises on its website. Vivy is a personal health assistant with useful functions. One of the, for example, is the digital emergency ID. If there’s an emergency while you’re on vacation, and the attending physician has to access your health data, they can view the emergency ID on the Vivy app. The digital vaccination certificate is also easy to set up. All medical documents, such as emergency data, vaccinations or medication and check-up plan are managed in the “Akte” (Record) section. The digital vaccination certificate from Vivy is, however, not yet able to replace the normal vaccination certificate. If a doctor has to make medical decisions based on the vaccination status, they require access to the original document for legal reasons. That’s why it’s advisable to have a photocopy of the original with you in addition to the digital version.

Vivy Screenshot

Medication at a glance

Another useful and straightforward app is “MyTherapy”, a TÜV-tested medication reminder for taking medication and tablets. The German app acts as a kind of medication manager and diary. The free app reminds the user when and what dose of a drug has to be taken, and also manages the user’s complete drug intake. The app is available for Android in Google Play and om the App Store for iPhones.

My Therapy App

Urlaubsguru (Holiday Guru) provides information worldwide

If you want to stay informed and need relevant information on what’s happening on the international travel front, you should take a look at the app from Urlaubsguru. It gives you a quick overview of where and how can keep yourself informed for your vacation abroad. In its last update, a news feed was also added to the Urlaubsguru app, in which all travel-related information and current travel warnings are shown up to date.

A live map allows you to follow the current situation and changes worldwide.  The latest version is available in the App Store or from Google Play.

Urlaubsguru App

The right smartphone for digital health data

If your smartphone becomes a data safe and saves important personal data, then you should also attach great importance to maximum security, quality and reliability. “Made in Germany”, the Gigaset seal of approval, guarantees that, and with the Gigaset GS190 you’re ideally equipped for any vacation. The smartphone impresses with a host of important functions:

  • The battery has an extremely long life: 4,000 mAh battery with rapid recharging function via USB Type-C port
  • Security is paramount: More security thanks to face recognition and multifunctional fingerprint sensor
  • Perfect holiday photos: 13 MP + VGA dual main camera and 8-MP front camera
  • Strong performance: Powerful quad-core processor with 4G LTE and VoLTE, and the new Pure Android™ 9.0 Pie operating system

Two are better than one: In terms of security, the Gigaset GS190 impresses with face recognition and fingerprint sensor. The model is currently on sale as a holiday offer for €129.00.

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