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What to Do If You Get Sick on a Trip

What to Do If You Get Sick on a Trip

Regardless where you travel to, prepare for unexpected illness or injury. This means getting adequate travel insurance to cover hospital visits and pharmaceuticals. Although you can pack prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine, this doesn’t exempt you from insurance. After all, what if you need a refill or a hospital?

Despite your efforts to plan for sickness, it can strike at any time. Exposure to new germs and bacteria through food and public places can get you sick. Similarly, exhaustion and dehydration can run down your immune system. This is why vaccinations are important. You need to protect yourself from things your body is not used to fending off.

If you do catch a cold or something more serious, don’t just ignore it. Keeping up the pace of your trip will only intensify the symptoms and prolong your recovery. You need rest and medicine (depending on the illness).

How to Prevent Yourself from Spreading the Germs

Out of courtesy for your travel companions, limit the spreading of your germs. This means washing your hands regularly and covering your cough, amongst other hygienic practices.

Even if travelling alone, being extra careful with your germs can prevent reinfection. It takes a few days for your body to show symptoms of a virus, so if you’re careless from day one, you could end up surrounding yourself with enough germs to keep you perpetually sick.

When to See the Doctor

Common colds, food poising and minor abrasions are all things you can treat yourself—at least temporarily. However, you may need to visit a local doctor if the symptoms worsen or if the initial illness/injury is severe. Here are some situations that call for medical attention:

  • An animal, reptile or bird bite or scratch;
  • A physical attack or sexual assault;
  • High fever with excessive diarrhea (or just bloody);
  • A car collision;
  • Any breaks, cuts or sprains that require painkillers, bandages, setting or stitching.