While in Spain last December, I got ill and spent half of the vacation with migraine headaches and congestions (you would not know it from the pictures because I was determined to make the most of the trip). Getting sick in a foreign country is not new, it is just very inconvinient and uncomfortable because when I am sick, I just want to be in bed. My own bed. Having dealt with everything from the flu, food poisoning and sprained ankles in foreign countries - I thought I will share ways I have dealt with it and some tips that may be helpful should you find yourself in a similar situation (here is hoping for illness free travel for us all).
1. Have a go pack and first aid kit. There are certain medications you can pick up over the counter without doctor prescription. My medicine go bag is filled with the usual suspect - vitamins; advil fever reducer ; pepto bismal; excedrine migraine; nasal spray; travel sized first aid kit and anything prescribed to me by my doctor (usually allergy pills). Usually, I can nip anything in the bud with my go pack. Before you travel, check the laws of the Country you are headed to, some prohibit bringing in certain types of medication.
2. Adequate Insurance. Most decent health insurance state side will cover you abroad should you need to see a doctor or go to the hospital. Check with your provider before heading overseas and if you dont have coverage, there are a few online optiions for specified trip duration. Also, some credit card travel benefit cover some health care cost. Make sure you know what you have before heading out.
3. Get Help. In a lot of Countries, Phamacist are licensed to prescribe medication based on symptoms. Most of the time this is really all you need. A few years ago, I landed in London with food poisoning. I had five hours until my next flight so no time to make an appointment to see a doctor (and this was before the days of my go pack). Thankfully, I found a Pharmacy in Heathrow airport and the Pharmacist prescribed what was needed to relive me before my next flight.
4. Schedule a Physical before you head out. I try to schedule my Physical within a few weeks of a trip abroad in hopes that if anything is brewing it can be diagnosed and treated before my trip. That came in handy this last trip to Spain. I had my physical days before leaving and based on some symptoms my Doctor prescrbed a z-pak. Thankful for that - I think it limited how ill I got on the trip.
5. Take a break. This one a hard one to recommend because I have major FOMO and never want to miss a thing, but sometimes you just need to take the evening off or day off and rest, regain your strength and pick up on your itinerary. Taking a break does not have to mean staying in your hotel room (although sometimes, you get need sometime in bed with your favorite book). Last fall, while in the South of France, my body started to give me signals of needing to slow down, I grabbed my IPAD, book and blanket and headed to beach - I spent the afternoon there napping and catching up on my netflix queue and reading list. The next day, I was feeling much better. Not sure if I would have made three weeks in Europe if I did not take that break.
Do you have any remedies for when you get ill while travelling? Will love to hear your tips.
For more travel stories and tips - check out the City Tripping link.