The 4 Things To Do When You Get Sick While Traveling Abroad

It’s so much fun to travel abroad and experience new things. On a recent trip to Croatia, I explored beautiful and interesting places and even made some new friends. One thing that was lucky was not getting sick. Which begs the question, what happens when you do get sick in a foreign country?

Getting sick in a place where you don’t know the language can be really very challenging. Explaining your symptoms to doctors can be frustrating. You might find it hard to understand what they are telling you about your treatment. Not knowing where to go or whom to trust makes it even more stressful. Paying for it can also be problematic, which is why it’s good to have travel medical insurance. In this article, I will go over several tips to help you navigate getting sick in a foreign country.

1 – Prepare ahead of time

Before you travel, there are a few important things to do to stay healthy. When you prepare before you leave, you can avoid a lot of common issues later on. First, look up your destination. Find out what illnesses are common there and check for any health warnings so you know what to watch out for.

Next, check your health insurance. Make sure it covers you while you’re abroad. If it doesn’t, make sure you get travel health insurance. There are a lot of different types of coverage to choose from, so you can go with the one that best suits your needs and situation.

Vaccinations and medicines are also important, and for certain countries are mandatory. Visit your doctor to get any needed vaccinations well before you go. Pack a basic first-aid kit and any prescription medicines you need. It’s better to have these with you rather than trying to find them in a foreign place.

Lastly, write down emergency contacts. Note the local emergency numbers and the addresses of nearby hospitals or clinics. Also, let someone at home know your travel plans and your health insurance details, so if something goes wrong, you’ll be ready and have help if you need it.

2 – Know the symptoms

It’s important to pay attention to how you feel while you are on the road. Common symptoms to watch for include fever, cough, stomach pain, diarrhea, and feeling very tired. These can be signs of something serious. Don’t ignore them. Catching these symptoms early can stop a small problem from getting bigger.

You’re most likely to get sick with things like food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, and colds. Food poisoning can cause stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, usually from eating bad food or drinking unsafe water.

Diarrhea, caused by bacteria or viruses, leads to frequent, loose stools and can be very uncomfortable. Colds and flu can happen due to changes in weather, air travel, or new germs.

Dehydration and heat exhaustion are also common, especially in hot places. Dehydration can make you feel dizzy, give you headaches, and make you very thirsty. Heat exhaustion can cause heavy sweating, weakness, and confusion.

3 – Know when to see a doctor

Some illnesses might be really uncomfortable and make you feel terrible but are not anything to get distressed about. Sometimes with some over-the-counter drugs you will get better quickly. Other times, things are more serious and require the help of a doctor.

Knowing when to see a doctor while traveling is very important. Some symptoms mean you need medical help right away. If you have a high fever, severe pain, trouble breathing, chest pain, or keep vomiting and having diarrhea, you should see a doctor.

It’s also helpful to know the difference between urgent care and emergency situations. Urgent care is for problems that aren’t life-threatening but still need quick attention, like minor cuts, mild infections, or a cough that won’t go away. You can go to an urgent care clinic for these issues.

Emergency situations are more serious. If you have severe chest pain, trouble breathing, heavy bleeding, or sudden confusion, go to the emergency room right away. These conditions can be life-threatening and need immediate medical help.

4 – Know how to find help

When you need medical help while traveling, it’s important to find good clinics or hospitals. Before your trip, look up clinics and hospitals near where you will be staying. Online reviews and travel websites can help you find trustworthy places. You may even want to connect with the hotel or Airbnb host ahead of time and ask them.

If you get sick and need help to find a good medical facility, use local resources. Embassies and consulates can give you information about reliable clinics and hospitals. They may also have lists of English-speaking doctors. Hotel staff can also help. They know the area well and can tell you where to find good medical care nearby.

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