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  • Writer's pictureTrey Tracy

How to Prepare For and Manage Getting Sick While Traveling

By Emma Grace Brown, Guest Author

Whether it's for work or pleasure, travel gives you the chance to see the world. Ideally, you'll be healthy enough to enjoy the experience. However, if you get sick while you're jetsetting, you might have to press pause on your adventures. Being ready for potential illness and knowing where to turn in case you become seriously ill is essential. While it's not fun to think about the potential of getting sick while you're globetrotting, it's better to be safe than sorry—and to prepare accordingly. This guide has some tips to help.

Pack essentials to address illness in your bag

Preparing for illness when traveling starts with appropriate packing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a guide to preparing for a healthy trip. If you take prescription medications, for example, make sure to have these with you. If you're traveling by air, keep them in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage is lost. Other must-have items include travelers' diarrhea medications, antacids, antihistamines, pain and fever medicines, and a motion sickness solution. If you're going on a more adventurous trip, such as hiking, it's also advisable to bring a travel first aid kit with essentials like bandages.

Make sure you have travel health insurance

Your home healthcare plan may not cover you when traveling abroad. In this case, make sure to get travel insurance. This can save you money in the big picture, helping to cover medical expenses abroad. This roundup of travel insurance packages can help you find a fitting option. Shop around to compare details like the monetary amount of medical coverage offered, whether evacuation is possible, and whether COVID treatment is included. You also want to make sure that that coverage applies to the countries you're traveling to.

Bring a copy of your medical records

Pack a copy of your travel insurance policy for your trip. Also, write down the insurer's contact details in case you need to make a claim abroad. In addition, bring basic medical records, like your health history, a record of any allergies, and copies of your prescriptions. In case you need medical treatment abroad, this information can be useful. Instead of lugging all this paperwork around, digitize the records as PDF files that you can access via an electronic device from anywhere. You can accomplish this by adding pages to an existing PDF via an online tool. You can rotate, delete, add, and reorder pages as needed.

Do all you can to stay healthy on the road

While it's good to be prepared for illness, ideally, you won't get sick at all while traveling. There are some steps you can take to stay well, especially if you're traveling for work and can't afford to be stuck sick in bed. For example, when booking accommodation, make sure fitness facilities are available, as exercise helps to bolster the immune system. You should also eat healthy, stay hydrated, and wash your hands regularly, especially after using public transportation. This guide explains how to properly wash your hands to stay healthy.

Know where to turn in case of illness

If the worst-case scenario occurs and you do get sick while traveling, make sure to get the medical attention you need. You can get help finding qualified local medical professionals by contacting the local embassy or consulate. If you do seek treatment, make sure to come prepared with your healthcare records and any medications you've been taking. This can help physicians accurately diagnose and treat you as quickly as possible, ensuring you're feeling fit again fast. Finally, bring your traveler's health insurance information.

Nobody wants to get sick while they're away from home. Unfortunately, it can happen. Instead of ruling out the possibility, prepare for it. By taking steps like digitizing your healthcare records, you'll be ready in case you do get ill.

For more travel planning tips, visit the Trey Tracy Travel blog.


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