What to Do When You Fall Sick in a Foreign Land

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When You Fall Sick – When traveling, no one can predict what exactly is going to happen, especially when it comes to getting sick.

Depending on the country you visit, you may contract a regional virus or you could just become a victim of the common cold.

Even if you plan your trip in advance and anticipate the tiniest details, unexpected things will inevitably happen.

Savvy travelers book their accommodation months in advance, will choose a dependable car rental North shore, and will get all the required vaccinations needed.

Nevertheless, you cannot eliminate the likelihood of being sick. Allergies While Traveling Abroad – Allergy Medicine to Take With You

This is why traveling internationally travelers must know what to do when you fall sick.

Thailand Travel Advice – Important Tips to Consider Before Setting Foot in Thailand

How To Avoid (And Deal With) 5 Common Travel Diseases

We have been in Thailand for 3 weeks now, and decided to update all the vaccinations we need at the Red Cross in Bangkok.

While traveling the world, your body is introduced to many new bugs and bacteria’s, some of which are more dangerous than others. How to eat well on the road

Therefore, today we are going to share 5 common travel diseases, what they are, how to avoid them.

Please remember, this post is not meant to scare you but remind you to take precautions so you can travel safely and happily.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious disease caused by parasites. It’s fatal if left untreated.

Malaria is transmitted by a bite from a malaria-infected female mosquito.

More than 100 countries are in the danger zones of Malaria (India, Central and South America, SE Asia, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa).

Sometimes it can be difficult knowing how bad the malaria is in some places, and it differs between what every doctor says as well.

One doctor advised me to take malaria pills in Malaysia but not in Vanuatu, another said I didn’t need them for any of the countries, which can make it a tricky decision since the side effects of the pill are really horrible and you don’t want to take them when you don’t need them.

There are several different Anti-malarial drugs to prevent and treat Malaria.

The choice of which drug to use depends on side effects, the malaria type and which drugs the parasite is resistant to in that area, so make sure that you get the appropriate drug for your situation and destination.

Malaria pills aren’t 100% effective.

Learn how to protect against mosquitoes.

To be extra safe, sleep under a mosquito net, use insect repellents (make sure it has DEET) and wear long pants and shirts in the evening or when walking in places with a lot of mosquitoes.

The side effect of taking malaria pills can sometimes feel just as bad as having malaria, so my suggestion is to take the drugs ONLY if you really know that there will be malaria where you go.

While at the Red Cross in Bangkok a few weeks ago, they told us that they don’t give out malaria pills anymore because of the side-effects etc.

It seems like things are changing, and doctors don’t just randomly hand out pills as much anymore – best thing is to not take them, just be smart, use common sense, and take the right precautions when traveling in affected areas.

Travelers Diarrhea

Travelers diarrhea is exactly what it sounds like – frequent diarrhea (NOT a Bali Belly or Delhi Belly).

A foreign bacteria or bug enters your system, most often from contaminated food and water.

Many travelers also get upset stomachs because of the sudden diet change.

Spicy food often causes an irritated bowel and you get diarrhea. When this happens, stay hydrated and don’t eat any spicy food.

It can happen anywhere, but the risk is higher in developing countries in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

Always drink bottled water, don’t even brush your teeth in tap water if it’s not drinkable, and keep your mouth closed when showering.

If you’re unsure whether the ice is from tap water or bottled water, don’t risk it but ask for no ice in your drink.

Stick to cooked food, especially make sure that the meat is well cooked.

Other food to be careful with is fruit (preferably peel it yourself) and seafood.

Always carry a disinfection gel around and wash your hands with it a few times a day, especially before eating and after having dealt with money.

If the damage is already done, then the best way to stop it is to have Imodium and Pepto-Bismol to stop it.

If the diarrhea doesn’t go away and/or gets worse, seek a doctor.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, and your doctor can give you advice on what to eat and the local remedies for diarrhea.

Cholera

Cholera is a severe bacterial disease affecting the intestines, creating vomiting and watery diarrhea.

The disease is fatal if left untreated. It’s an extreme type of travel diarrhea.

The germ is spread by drinking contaminated water or infected food.

The source of the contaminated water is often due to other cholera patients’ diarrhea let through into the waterways.

Remember that even shellfish living in affected waterways can cause this infection.

This disease can be found in Indonesia, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

There is a drinkable vaccine (Dukoral), two doses will keep you safe for two years (with the second dose taken a week after the first).

Use the same precautions as for normal Travel Diarrhea.

Hepatitis A & B

Both Hepatitis A and B are viral infections of the liver, however Hepatitis B is transmitted differently and it takes longer to get well.

The most common transmission for hepatitis A is via contaminated food and water.

The virus breaks down in the discharge and spread via contaminated water that people drink, as well as food that has been in contact with contaminated water.

Often you don’t notice that you’re infected because there are little to no symptoms and the symptoms can come a long time after you’ve been infected (Hepatitis A 2-6 weeks, Hepatitis B 2-6 months), but the symptoms can also make you feel sick for months.

Typical symptoms are nausea, fever, malaise and abdominal problems.

Hepatitis B is transmitted via blood – blood transfusions or needles – and sex with an infected person.

Most common in less developed countries and regions with poor hygiene standards. Africa, Southern Asia and Latin America are common places, but it exists everywhere.

Vaccinations are 95-100% effective when taken at least 4 weeks prior to trip.

A second vaccine (Havrix) boost 6-12 months later and then it lasts for the next 20+ years.

There is a vaccination that covers for both hepatitis A and B called Twinrix.

This one has to be taken 3 times for 20 years of coverage:

The second one 1 month after the first, and the third one 6 months after the first dose.

Typhoid Fever

A bacterial infection in the intestines, and sometimes the bloodstream.

It’s transmitted by contaminated food or water with salmonella.

Typical symptoms are severe headache, nausea, massive loss of appetite and fever.

It exists everywhere but the risks are highest in poor countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, as well as in the Indian subcontinents and Mexico.

The vaccine is only between 50-80% safe so stay away from water that could be contaminated (like tap water) and uncooked food.

Take the vaccine two weeks before travel.

Well, there you go – not the nicest article to read I know, but it is important to educate yourself on what is out there, so you are prepared while traveling.

Staying Healthy While Traveling Abroad

Did you know that the percentage of US citizens traveling on an international basis rises every year?

Some of those passengers might be interested in traveling abroad to spend great vacations, while others may want to travel abroad to attend business meetings.

Whatever the case is, one thing is for sure, you need a travel checklist.

You are going to make it worth traveling by doing these three best things that will help you stay healthy:

Safe Trip: Staying Safe While on Vacation

Read a few guidebooks and travel reviews about your destination before you leave.

If a particular place or activity sounds interesting to you, find out if you can book in advance so that you know you will be able to visit a place for certain.

Do not over pack. Everything you need for a one-week to one-month trip you can get into a backpack. Easy-to-wear pieces that match everything else are key, as are clothes that don’t wrinkle and don’t take up a lot of space.

Learn some key phrases of the language of the places you plan on traveling to.

Even if you mangle a phrase like “good morning,” country citizens appreciate your effort and after a smile and a chuckle will greet you with enthusiasm.

You don’t have to learn a foreign language but it helps to buy a mini language dictionary and study some words on the plane.

Split up the places where you plan to carry your cash and credit cards.

Put a card and some cash in your suitcase, some in your purse if you carry one, and the rest in a money belt.

Be critically aware of these items at all times.

Hide them well whether or not you are carrying them with you.

Above all, stay safe while traveling.

Temporarily sign up with your cell phone company for a temporary international plan for your Smartphone.

By taking this step, you keep up access to apps and maps that makes finding places easier to find and navigate.

You’ve gotten your vaccination shots and are learning about what else to do.

With some planning and some easy-to-access research, you will be all set. Have fun!

New cultures, new food and new adventures start the moment you begin your flight.

Prepare yourself for new ways of doing things and stay patient and in good humor.

Be Proactive to stay healthy

You have decided to spend your specific number of holidays with family.

The next step is to take all the necessary steps toward the preparation of the same.

Being proactive will be helpful for you as well as your family.

To start off with this, finalize the destination first.

If you are confused as to which country to visit, you can always consult professionals online.

They will explain the cost of going to each destination as well. Once the destination has been decided, it is important to learn as much about it as possible.

Since you will be spending a specific number of days in a place you never visited, you should ensure that you have prepared well for any health risks that may come your way.

If there is something dangerous, then make sure that you have got all the safety precautions beforehand.

Some places are prone to natural disasters.

And if you have a lot of concerns about this, then it is better to choose some other destination that is as beautiful as this one.

Besides this, know the culture of the country in advance, so that you can pack your dresses and belongings accordingly.

Be Prepared

Obviously, there is no one who wants to take medicines or first aid box with them while going for an exciting trip.

However, you never know when an illness or injury knocks your door even when the rest of the family is enjoying every bit of the exciting journey.

To avoid any unfavorable situation while you are on the go, it is necessary to deal with it by getting prepared for it.

We all know how unexpected an illness can be.

Therefore, make sure that you pack all the necessary things.

This includes a health kit that comprises of medicines such as, anti-diarrhea medication, cough syrup, and antihistamine.

Keep all of them in your own bag pack without worrying about the injury or illness.

Be Protected

Now that you have learnt how keeping a health kit with you can reduce your worries of getting injured or ill, there is still something you should focus on, i.e. your protection throughout the trip.

Of course, this mainly depends on the destination you choose.

So, for instance, you want your family to explore some forest areas, then you are required to keep some insect repellents and other related items with you.

Other things to help you get protected include casual clothing of cotton trousers and long-sleeves shirt, and hand sanitize to keep the bad bacteria away from you.

What to Do When You Fall Sick

Given the fact that healthcare systems don’t work the same throughout the world, it’s imperative that you know what to do when something happens and a professional medic has to take care of you.

That being said, here is what you should do if you fall sick in a foreign land!

Get Yourself to a Doctor

You’ll think this is quite obvious – however, when you’re on a mountain top or inside a remote village, getting to a doctor might be difficult.

Before rushing to the first medical care facility, you should make sure that it’s capable of treating you.

Some research online or just asking the locals may make the difference between you having to spend a week in a hospital and resuming travel in just a few hours.

Have a Travel Buddy

If you are on a solo road trip and get a more severe type of cold or illness, you will definitely feel it and your decision-making ability may be affected during this time.

In this case, it’s recommended that you have someone around you to ask for advice, directions, or even call the hospital.

They will be aware of what’s happening and will know how to care for you until the professionals step in.

Respect But Don’t Ignore

We should always expect the fact that in a foreign land, medics might work in a different way than what we’re used to.

Having this in mind, you should always be respectful as a patient, but you should also not ignore red flags that may seem wrong to you.

Be it in terms of hygiene or general medical practice, if you notice something you’re not comfortable with, mention it to the person that’s treating you.

Medics know what’s best for us, but you know your body better – so, if you have a comment, speak up, but remember to be respectful as well.

Contact Your Insurance Company

It’s well-known that most people with travelers insurance don’t actually know how this actually works. How to Choose Travel Insurance

Before signing any forms for treatment or medication prescription, contact your insurance company in order to make sure that you can actually afford what you’re paying for.

The thing is, you need to get information about what your insurance plan covers for you before you say yes to anything you’re faced with, so make sure if you have to pay out of pocket that it will be reimbursed by your insurance company.

How To Ease Travel Sickness

There are many great NATURAL ways to ease and cure your travel sickness.

There are several travel sickness medicines that work well, some to have before the trip (whether you’re flying or taking the bus or similar) to avoid travel sickness, and others to help you deal with travel sickness if you happen to get sick.

If travel sickness medicines are not your thing, there are other more natural ways you can try to ease travel sickness.

One effective way to help against travel sickness is by eating the right food.

There are many specific foods that help ease travel sickness, and the way you eat will also play a major role in your fast recovery.

When you’re sick, vomiting and have frequent diarrhea you can become dehydrated and weak, so your body need nutrition more than ever.

No matter how sick you are you have to give your body some sort of nutrition so that you’re strong enough to fight off the travel sickness.

But you have to be careful with which food you choose.

Here are a few tips on what to eat and drink to ease travel sickness:

Bland Food:

Bland food is the best type of food against travel sickness.

Strong smells and spicy foods can be hard for the stomach to ‘keep down’.

Sometimes just the smell of food can make you feel even more sick – if that happens make sure you choose colder food, like fruit, crackers and veggies.

The way the food is cooked can make all the difference.

Boiled or baked chicken for example is good food when feeling sick, fried chicken is not.

Avoid all fried or greasy food and sweet desserts.

Chicken rice soup is also known to help calming down upset stomachs.

Soup is also a great way to get nutrition in your body.

Soothing foods also help and ease the travel sickness.

Chamomile, ginger and mint all have very soothing effects on upset stomachs, and I really recommend them in tea form.

Ginger is especially known to help against travel sickness and morning sickness.

If tea isn’t you thing you can chew on some crystallized ginger instead!

The BRAT-Diet

A great combination of food that people most often can eat and ‘keep down’ is the Banana, Rice, Apple sauce and Toast diet.

These are all bland foods and help to absorb stomach acids which eases nausea and vomiting.

Eating only this is not healthy as it’s not nutritionally complete, but it’s great as an addition to other food and when you can’t keep anything else down!

Tips When Eating & Drinking:

Sip your drink slowly.

Mouth rinse (1/4 tsp baking soda to 1 cup water) before and after eating.

Eat in a relaxed environment, like in your room at the hotel (when you’re sick you deserve to get a private room, and the other dorm members would appreciate it too!).

It’s good to be able to eat on your own speed, be able to lay down and have the toilet right next to you just in case.

The last thing you want to worry about is throwing up in a restaurant full of people (a very bad memory of mine..!)

Stay away from your favorite foods when you feel sick.

You may develop a dislike for them by association to feeling sick, causing you to not enjoy them again later.

Drinks To Ease Travel Sickness:

  • Ginger ale
  • Peppermint tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Black lemon tea
  • Iced tea
  • Lemonade
  • Coca Cola (preferably flat)

Limiting your food intake (fasting) may cause you to suffer from diarrhea longer, and since your body need a variety of nutrition and extra goodness, try to get back on track and eat normal healthy food again as fast as you can.

If you’re not getting better after a couple of days you should seek a doctor – if not earlier.

Happy travels!