Sickness & Ill Health Abroad – A Traveller’s Worst Nightmare!
March 18, 2014|Posted in: Advice
It happens to all of us. One day your fine, the next – everything aches, your dinner from the previous night isn’t staying down and you generally feel and look like complete crap. But, you’re 1000’s of miles from home with no proper understanding of the language of the country you’re in, coupled together with an almighty feeling of embarrassment. It sucks.
Luckily, this has only happened to me once. Unluckily for me, it was something a bit more serious than just a bit of food poisoning or flu. I managed to contract a parasite whilst on tour through Thailand which left me in crippling pain and, ahem, not wanting to be more than a metre from a toilet. Luckily (although, not that it was the best thing possible) I was to be leaving the day after.
But, things like that always get me thinking. What if…? What if I had to be admitted to a hospital in a foreign country? What if I missed my flight? What would happen? So, here are a few tips I thought I’d share with you all!
1) Get INSURED!
You might think it’s a stupid point, but it isn’t when you forget to do it! Those hospital trips & medical costs for IF you do fall ill? Yeah, you’ll have to pay for it ALL if you’re not insured. It’s pretty simple to do as well, with lots of comparison sites giving you a clear overview of the best deals around. I used Money Supermarket – but there are loads on the net.
2) Make sure you take into account activities you plan on par-taking in.
This could mean anything from bungee-jumping to white water rafting or even just a quad biking experience! Any of these activities carries risks, and most insurance companies will state whether you would be covered if taking part in them or not. A broken leg is still an inconvenience, so check.
3) Take medicines from home with you.
Whether it’s a packet of Ibuprofen or some Imodium tablets, it’s a good idea to have stash of medicines from home. Not only just as an emergency for if you are stuck somewhere rural, but if you end up in a pharmacy with no knowledge of the language, it’s a bit of a risk to know what it is you are taking when you can’t understand a word it says on the packet.
4) Go to a pharmacy rather than a doctors surgery.
I found this out through a friend in Thailand – whereas the doctors on one of the Thai islands wanted to charge a fee for looking at his ear (he suspected an ear infection) – he then went to the pharmacy where they confirmed what he thought for free! Obviously though, if you feel it is a serious matter, DO find a doctor.
5) Make sure all jabs and immunisations are up to date.
It may seem like a hassle, and sometimes a costly extra to add onto before your trip, but you’re be thanking yourself when you realise you’ve grazed your leg on something rather dirty and forgot to get a booster Tetnus jab, or managed to be bitten by a wild animal and are more than 24 hours away from the nearest hospital with a rabies shot! Most NHS services offer advice on what immunisations you will need for the areas you will be visiting, so best to book an appointment with the nurse as soon as you know when you’re leaving. Some jabs need more than one shot, so you could need to go back to get more over a few weeks!
So there you have it, a few points to take on board before and whilst you are travelling. Obviously, keep all health insurance documents safe and secure and make sure you always have the number of an emergency contact on you, just in case!
Happy (healthy) travels!
Amy is the founder of thewanderlustadventures.com. Currently residing in Reading, UK with a love of adventure travel, writing and photography - she pretty much writes about whatever the hell she wants!