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Here’s What to Do If You Get Sick When Traveling

what to do when sick while traveling
Written by Going Places

This blog post was updated on April 15, 2022.

When you’re sick abroad, it can feel like your holidays are ruined. From runny noses to sore throats, nobody wants to feel icky when they’re supposed to be exploring a new destination. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of other activities to do when you’re sick abroad that will make your days more productive and enjoyable. Before you go, here’s what you should do if you get sick when traveling!

Practice Proper Safety Measures

Wash hands if sick when traveling

Practice good hygiene, including hand-washing and regularly cleaning surfaces. To avoid getting sick in the first place, be sure to get enough rest and keep your immune system strong by taking vitamins. Additionally, it’s wise to learn the local language and culture at home before you take your cheap flights in April. The better you know the people and the place, the better equipped you’ll be able to communicate effectively when bad things happen overseas. That includes food allergies if they apply to you. Make sure that someone locally knows how to reach your friends, family members, doctors, and co-workers to help with translation or other details in an emergency.

Invest in Travel Insurance

Get travel insurance if sick when traveling

Make sure you have important health info and travel insurance that covers medical expenses as well. Travel health insurance is something most Americans use, but not everyone knows about it. If your trip gets interrupted by illness, be sure your policy has a provision for delays and cancellations. If you have an existing medical condition, consult with your doctor about what medications to take and any precautions you need to observe. If you don’t have insurance, check with your credit card issuer to see if their travel benefits include emergency medical costs. If you’re sick overseas, you’ll want to make sure that you have the information you need to seek medical care, including a travel insurance policy that includes medical. Otherwise, you may find yourself unable to reach your doctor or get needed treatment.

Refer to the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers

It’s important to know where the best place is to get appropriate medical assistance when you travel. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers provides a list of recommended medications for travelers on their website, as well as a list of online resources for finding medical assistance abroad.

Monitor Your Symptoms

monitor your symptoms if sick when traveling

If you’re feeling sick when traveling, it’s wise to keep a journal of symptoms when traveling abroad. Remember to keep track of any new or unusual symptoms you experience, like fevers, headaches, or diarrhea. Be sure to note the date and time you are experiencing those symptoms and the severity of them. This will help you identify any patterns and commonalities in your illness that may warrant a visit to the doctor. Keeping track of your symptoms may save you from dealing with a medical emergency or even feeling unwell enough to warrant a last-minute return flight.

Contact the Nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate

Go to embassy if sick when traveling

Find the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country of your destination by visiting the State Department’s website of the country you’re visiting or searching on Google Maps. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate is likely to have staff who are able to speak English and can provide information about local doctors, clinics, and hospitals, as well as contact information for them.

You may also like: Afraid of Getting Sick While Traveling? Test Your Knowledge on How to Stay Healthy! 

Research Your Insurance In-Network List

Insurance providers will have lists of in-network doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers near your destination. You can find these lists on your insurance company’s website or through a contact number for your insurance provider. It’s important to note that not every healthcare provider on the list is going to be in-network for your insurance. Hospitals, doctors, and many other healthcare providers are “outside network” or require a higher out-of-pocket expense or have a higher deductible.

Enjoy Some Me Time

Relax if you get sick when traveling

If you made good use of those cheap flights in April just to find out that you’re sick abroad, don’t despair! It’s essential to relax and take care of yourself. Make sure that you eat well and drink plenty of fluids. After that, spend some quality time just taking care of yourself and relaxing. You can use the time to learn new words or expand your vocabulary. If you like challenges, try learning a new alphabet. You can lose yourself in a great book while staying in bed when you’re sick abroad.

What do you do if you get sick when traveling? Give us your advice in the comments below!

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Going Places

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