How to Prepare for Getting Sick While Abroad
It is important for individuals who travel often to be prepared for illness that is associated with travel and know how to spot an illness coming on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests keeping an eye out for the following symptoms while traveling to ensure you stay healthy during your journey and keep from spreading an illness:
- A fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or above
- A skin rash
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- A severe cough that lingers
- Spontaneous confusion
- Bleeding or bruising that occurs without impact
- Vomiting other than that due to motion sickness
Anyone traveling with one or more of these symptoms is considered an ill traveler and should contact their doctor.
Blood clots (DVT) are another common condition that travelers should be aware of and prepared for. Those who fly often, especially on flights longer than 8 hours may have an increased risk for blood clots. Individuals who are pregnant, smoke, taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy pills, have had DVT in the past, recent surgery or a blood-clotting problem may also have an increased risk according to the CDC. Know what your risk is before you travel and discuss with your doctor what you can do to help prevent this condition. Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting blood clots during a long journey:
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
- Wear loose clothes
- Walk and stretch periodically throughout the trip
- Ask your doctor if wearing special stocking that help encourage blood flow are right for you
As a traveler, you will want to be prepared for any illness relevant to your host country. To do this, it is a good idea to research any current disease outbreaks in your destination country and follow any specific warnings or guidelines given to help prevent you from contracting the illness.
Before your trip, also check your travel health insurance plan and ensure they will cover health expenses acquired while abroad. If your current plan will not provide overseas health coverage, find a plan that will cover you while on your journey so you can be prepared for the unexpected.