How to Stay Healthy Abroad, And What to Do If You Get Sick

For many people, contracting an illness or getting injured while traveling abroad is their worst nightmare. Especially when traveling internationally, lack of communication like cell phones or emergency contacts, when combined with a language barrier, can make for a difficult and scary experience.

So, what happens if the worst-case scenario happens to you, and how can you best take care of yourself until you can contact commercial medical escorts?

1. Keep communication open. Even if you don’t have regular cell phone service at your travel destination, ensure that you have an alternative method of communication set up. This is especially true if you are traveling alone! Before arriving at your hotel, ask if there is an Internet connection or a landline available. Also, bring emergency contact phone numbers with you on your trip so that you don’t have to commit them to memory!

2. Don’t further strain yourself. It may be tempting, especially if you are trying to enjoy a new and exciting location. However, forcing your body to perform a strenuous activity (or any activity at all), won’t do your immune system any favors!

3. Take care of yourself before the illness strikes by packing a first-aid kit! This should be an essential part of any travel preparation. The New York Times describes a few necessities:

  • Ibuprofen for the treatment of fevers and minor aches and pains
  • Antibiotic ointment for cuts and scrapes
  • Fiber supplements to ease constipation, which is a frequent complaint during travel
  • Any necessary allergy medications
  • Oral rehydration supplements in the event you are sweating excessively, having diarrhea, or are otherwise dehydrated

While these tips are helpful for minor illnesses or injuries like sprains and twisted ankles, remember to contact the U.S. Embassy or a crew of commercial medical escorts to make sure you arrive home safely.

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