Traveling and Illness What to Do
For most of us, when we prepare for a vacation we only think about all the good times we have and not about if something goes wrong like getting sick. With all the germs around it’s no surprise that travelers often get illnesses like colds, or even worse, the flu.
If you do get sick while traveling, here’s what you should do before, during and after your trip.
Before You Travel
-Pack medications that could help you. A pain reliever, decongestant and cough drops can provide much relief if you do find yourself battling an illness when you are away from home. Also take items for your stomach such as Zantac, Imodium or Pepto-Bismol. A few bandages, Neosporin, anti-itch cream such as Cortizone, benadryl/antihistamines are all good items to take with you as well.
If you are going to India, Mexico or other countries where the food is very different from what you are accustomed to eating, talk to your doctor about prescribing antibiotics before you travel to help with any possible case of food poisoning or upset stomach. This would be a severe case, but it’s always good to be prepared.While you might think that you can just get these items at your destination if you get sick, that might not always be the case, especially if you are traveling overseas.
-Check your insurance policy. Some illnesses might require a trip to a doctor or hospital. Call your insurance company before you leave for your trip and find out if your plan will cover you if you need to visit a doctor or hospital while traveling. If they won’t, consider getting a temporary policy that will cover you while you are away.
-Make a list of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies that are near your location. If you are traveling abroad, pay close attention to whether or not these doctors speak English or at least have staff that do.
-Find out what your airline’s policy is on changing flights. If you get sick you may need to change your flight. It’s important that you know what your airline’s policy is in this situation so that you aren’t out hundreds of dollars because you purchased a nonrefundable plane ticket.
-If you feel yourself starting to get sick, slow down and rest if you can. While it might be tempting to try to push through it and see as many sites as you can, you risk getting others sick and making your illness worse. Take some down time and rest so that you can recover as quickly as possible. Drink lots of fluids (bottled water and juices with vitamin C.)
-If you have a serious illness, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that is nearest to you. They will be able to assist you with finding the appropriate medical care and let your family know if need be.
-Visit your doctor. If you experienced an illness while traveling, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor to get a checkup even if you feel better. They can make sure that it’s not anything serious and they can provide you with medication if need be.