Getting Ill While Traveling: Don’t Panic!

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Found yourself unexpectedly injured and/or ill while traveling? Don’t fear; we’ve been there!

As inconvenient as it is to find yourself in need of medical care abroad, rest assured that it’s happened to the best of us. Whether it’s a stomach bug or an injury sustained after one too many tequila shots, you’ll find yourself panicking about where to go for treatment.

But before you get ahead of yourself, check out some of these tips that should hopefully put your mind at ease, should you find yourself in this predicament.

Get Insured

Before you go on your travels, get prepared, and research some insurance options. For example, if you’re something of an adrenaline junkie and know that you’re going to be doing some activities that risk injury, make sure you get an insurance policy that covers ‘dangerous activities.’ You don’t want to end up with a broken leg and a huge hospital bill.

Research Your Destination

Depending on where your travels take you, you’ll need to check out the type of medical services you’ll have access to. You can research the health information specific to the country you’re visiting to learn more about potential diseases you might be exposed to.

Medicate

As scary as it can be trying to buy over-the-counter medicine in a foreign country, especially one with a language barrier, if you feel like you’ve been affected by something, go to your nearest pharmacy. It’s better to get something over-the-counter to settle yourself, rather than suffer in silence and be miserable for the rest of your trip. However, if the language barrier is proving too much of an obstacle, you can always bring your own medication from home on your travels.

Find a Doctor

Go to your nearest embassy or consulate if you’re struggling to find the right doctor, and they will have a list of recommendations. Also, remember to keep your insurance card handy, as most clinics will need this as proof before you can see a doctor. And if you’re worried about keeping your medical information secure, learn more about HITRUST vs HIPAA.

Don’t Infect Others

Although this isn’t too much of an issue if you’re going solo, if you are traveling with friends, then the last thing you want to do is infect them with whatever’s affecting you. So as harsh as it sounds, you’re better off quarantining yourself from your companions for a while, for example, moving into a different hotel room or hostel. Plus, avoid accidental contamination via sharing toiletries. Having one traveler get sick isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but if you take the group down with you, there could be problems.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

There’s a difference between going quad biking and ending up in a full-body cast or getting a bug from some dodgy street food and being sick for two days. If you do find yourself curled up in bed feeling rotten, just remember this isn’t permanent, and chances are you’ll be back on your feet soon. You don’t need to be rushed to A&E. Only consult a clinic if you are seriously ill and/or have been injured. You don’t want to be bombarded with unnecessary medical bills, and you need to make sure you’re insured for any you do receive.

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About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

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