Vacations can quickly change into ordeals when illness strikes. Though serious sickness is rare, according to the CDC some 15% of travelers abroad experience minor illness during their trips. To combat sickness abroad, prevent it, prepare for it, check out symptoms if you are unsure. Here is what the CDC says you should do when you get sick while traveling.
BEFORE YOU GO
Reschedule if sick: If you are violently sick ahead of your trip, it is advisable to reschedule. The CDC advises air travelers with recurrent vomiting or diarrhea, a fever over 100 degrees, skin rashes, or bleeding without injury to avoid flying and seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms could signal more serious illnesses. No matter how important the trip, always decide to stay home if sick!
Check health insurance: Ask your health insurance if it covers care abroad.
Go Global: We are providing 24/7, complimentary, access to English-speaking doctors to anyone traveling with us. We also provide complimentary assistance with prescriptions as needed.
Foods to avoid: Read up on recommended practices in your host country and those to avoid, like drinking tap water, eating food that is not cooked, or walking barefoot. “Traveler’s diarrhea” is the most common illness tourists develop abroad, a form of food poisoning that can last up to a week when untreated, so be extra cautious when presented with new foods, even if it looks and smells delicious.
Stay safe: Some countries have curfews, some require seat belts in transit, some do not provide life jackets in water sports. Your best default position is to avoid anything that seems unsafe.
Watch out for pets: As impossible as it may sound, do not pet the pets. Animal bites and scratches can transmit rabies, and treatment for such exposure may not be easily available in the place you are visiting.
See a doctor if you need one: If you do fall ill and your symptoms are severe, see a doctor immediately. Go Global will connect you with English-speaking physicians as soon as requested.
Check symptoms: Fever and nausea are common after long flights and should dissipate within a short amount of time, and more likely than not, you’re a healthy traveler with a nervous stomach. Still, take your symptoms seriously: Consult your doctor when diarrhea lasts more than a week or a serious rash persists.
Get checked up, if needed: While only about 8% of travelers are sick enough to seek medical treatment once they are home, some symptoms merit a trip to a doctor. Inform a doctor of your travels to rule out a (rare) serious illness. The doctor will likely ask for the details, so remember what you ate, where you stayed, and activities you did there.
Dare to Go Global! We have your back.