How to Deal When You Catch a Serious Infection Abroad


Being sick abroad is not fun, catching a serious infection while traveling abroad is even worse and can be extremely scary. Last week I was plagued with a serious intestinal infection and spent a week in a foreign hospital in excruciating pain. You know when you are puking your brains out and you think, ¨Wow, I am going die¨ but you can still hear that little angel of hope that says, ¨You will be okay¨, yeah that little voice was not there. I truly thought for the first time in my life I was going to die.

I never wish to experience that type of pain again and I don’t wish it upon any of my fellow woman travelers. However, if you do fall victim to any kind of serious foreign illness, here are a few ways of how to deal and recover as soon as possible:

Ask the locals where they get medical care

If you come down with a serious infection or sickness while traveling abroad, ask the locals what hospital they go to. Healthcare in third world countries tend to be a fraction of the cost of healthcare in the United States. Upper to mid-range hospitals provide clean, efficient, and affordable care. For example, I went to an upper to mid-range hospital in my city, (Cochabamba, Bolivia) and spent a week at the hospital for around $100 U.S.D per day. This included round-the- clock-care, medicines, labs and full consultation by the head doctor for after-care. Prescriptions were an added cost apart from daily care.

Get a translator

I speak Spanish fluently enough to ask for everything I need in everyday situations, but when it comes to medical words and making sure I understand my diagnosis, when I was sick, I had to ask for some assistance from a native friend. If you come down with a serious illness and land yourself in the hospital while traveling abroad in a country that doesn’t speak your native language, ask for a translator. Most hospitals will either have someone who speaks fluent English or can recruit somebody. Either way, ensuring you have a proper understanding of your diagnosis will ensure that you get the correct care after you leave the hospital.

Finish your medications

Don’t make the mistake I made and interrupt your care after being diagnosed with a serious illness. Even if you start to feel better after being dismissed from the hospital continue to take all the drugs you were given. Antibiotics are known for making you feel good quickly, but if you don’t stay on them for the remainder of their course, your infection can return at full force. Stay healthy, and stay on your medicine until you have finished the dose, then return to the hospital and get follow-up tests to make sure you have eliminated the virus completely from your body.

Have you ever been seriously sick while traveling abroad?


About Author

Since a young age Jenna has always had an undeviating desire to explore the world and all its hidden niches. This desire has catapulted her willingly into some of the most memorable experiences of her life! Starting with delivering shoes to underserved villages in the Dominican Republic to bussing it down through Mexico and Central America, she currently lives and works in Cochabamba, Bolivia and believes experiencing first hand what foreign culture is really like, serves as her ultimate passion.

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