General Safety Travel Tips

What to Do If You Get Sick or Injured Aboard

Volcanic fragments

As you probably know, anything is bound to happen at any time. Sickness or injury can occur when you least expect it, and they make your life a living hell.

When you finally go to your long-awaited trip and get sick, the first question that pops up in your mind may be “Why now?”. Well, viruses don’t care about your vacation, sadly. On the contrary, it’s as if they watch you closely, and choose to strike exactly when you’re relaxing on a beach with a coconut juice in your hand.

Injuries are just as bound to happen, especially if you’re a hiking adept. You never know when you can slip and fall, and cause severe injury. Anything like this should be avoided as much as possible. You don’t go abroad everyday, so it’s essential to take full advantage of it. How will you be able to do that with a broken leg?

The following guide offers you information about what to do if you get sick abroad, or what to do if you get injured abroad.

First step – Travel Insurance

Okay, this is probably something you keep hearing about whenever it comes to travelling abroad. Although the thought of spending some more pennies doesn’t seem like a good deal to you, it’s something you should definitely consider.

“It’s not like it’s going to happen to me.” You’re probably thinking. This is the same thing that people who had things happen to them have thought. Nobody believes it until it actually happens. So don’t hesitate when it comes to travel insurance.

It’s meant to help you if you get sick, or injure yourself. If you are about to say “I can easily buy some medicine from there.”, you’re in for a surprise. Medicine can have a totally different price than what you’re used to in your own country. Not only you’ll be left without money, but it could also be very difficult to ask the pharmacist for it. If you don’t speak the country’s language, then you’re going to give him a hard time too.

Travel Insurance can save you all the trouble. Not only it covers medicine costs, but it also covers doctor visits, hospital care, and many others.

Consider all the benefits, and don’t think that travel insurance is only for old people. Even though you may end up not using it most of the times, it’s better to have it, because bad situations are not as foreseeable as you want them to be.

Learn Some Medical Vocabulary

Although English is usually used in many places, depending on the country you visit, you may not be able to properly explain your issue. Don’t just bet that the hospital has someone who speaks English. Just in case, it’s better to know some basic vocabulary.

For example, you could learn how to say “pain”, and point to the painful area of your body. Seems something funny when you think about it, but it’s going to be really helpful.

What if You Become Sick on a Cruise Ship or an Airplane?

There is the possibility that you or a companion gets sick on the airplane or cruise ship. This is really bad, as it takes you by surprise and you don’t know what to do. Well, here are some things you could do:

  • Make sure you tell a crew member or flight attendant about this, so they can get help as soon as possible
  • Cruise ships have small medical facilities that can treat you if you feel sick. There may be a doctor on the plane as well, and he can examine you.
  • A surgical mask may be needed in case you are coughing, so you are not infecting other passengers either
  • In case of a very serious illness, you may be evacuated off a ship and seek treatment on land. If you’re on a plane, you may be moved to a different part and the crew will redirect the plane, so you receive proper medical care.

Ensure if you have travel insurance with medical coverage. If you do, then you may be reimbursed for the costs, or the company may pay the hospital directly. If the medical facility that treats you is not contracted by your health insurance, things are different. You may have to support the costs.

When Should You Immediately Seek Medical Help?

Some special cases may require immediate action. Therefore, don’t hesitate to seek medical help if you or a companion:

  • Have been in a car accident, even if you don’t feel injured afterwards.
  • Have diarrhea with a fever that’s over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, or diarrhea with blood.
  • Have been bitten or scratched by any bird, animal or reptile.
  • Have been physically attacked or sexually assaulted

How Do You Locate a Health Care Professional Abroad?

To locate heath care professionals abroad, you have to do some efforts. You should take the health care provider’s and transportation’s local language. For more information, you can look for online websites that can help you find one. There are websites containing a directory of health care professionals in multiple countries.

The effort you may have to put when looking for a health care professional can be difficult if you are experiencing a current health emergency. A better option would be doing the research before actually travelling abroad. This way, you’ll be able to react quickly if something bad happens.

How Do You Arrange and Pay for Health Care or Medical Evacuations?

If you have health insurance, then you can use the toll-free hotline and talk to travel assistance services representatives. They will be able to tell you where are the closest medical facilities. They will also contact your family, and make sure that you receive the proper care.

If you don’t have health insurance, then you have to locate the closest Embassy and solve this.

In case of a medical evacuation, the Embassy can help you locate an evacuation provider. However, you will have to pay for the evacuation costs. Travel insurance can be very useful in this situation, and you will appreciate it a lot. They arrange and coordinate the evacuation, as well as pay for the costs of your transportation back home.

What to do if you get sick or injured abroad?

If something unexpectedly happens, it’s essential to know what to do next. The prime step is not to panic. It’s not going to help you at all. Keep your calm, and seek help as soon as possible. After all, you want to make it back home in one piece, don’t you?

  • Have a friend help you out

This is why it’s always better to have a buddy with you. You’re not only going to have company, but also someone to help you out when something happens. You need to have someone you can trust. Sometimes, being injured or sick can affect your thinking and decision-making. For this reason, it’s better if someone is there to take care of you. If you’re thinking about what to do if you get injured abroad, having a friend come with you is an essential thing.

  • Go to a doctor

This is common knowledge – you get sick or injured, and the doctor is the one who solves your issue. However, it’s not going to be so pleasant if the closest hospital is still too away and it takes ages until you get there.

Well, take advantage of transportation, however long it takes. It’s better than not visiting the doctor at all. Get a taxi, and try to explain your problem to the driver. Maybe he will understand, and will try to get you there as fast as possible while respecting the driving laws.

  • Contact your insurance company

If you are not fully aware of what your insurance covers and includes, then contact your insurance company. Tell them about your problem and find out if the medication can be covered by your travel insurance. There are insurance plans overseas that probably don’t cover anything. The money issue is very important, as you are at risk of emptying your wallet and maybe selling your house too.

Therefore, find out if you have to pay for anything yourself or not before filling in any medication prescription.

  • Don’t immediately call your loved ones

Getting sick or injured may make you want to tell everyone about it. However, there is nothing your family is able to do. All you’re going to do is make them worry.

It’s not wrong to let them know, but the first thing that should be in your mind is taking care of yourself. Whereas a serious situation is something they should be informed about, your safety is a priority. So, ensure you seek help and get proper treatment before calling your family.

  • Be respectful, but ask questions

Medical care is different in each country. Respecting the medical knowledge of the professionals surrounding you is important. Still, you shouldn’t abstain from speaking up if you see something wrong. For example, if there’s an issue with the treatment or hygiene, don’t be afraid to tell them.

Even though doctors know what to do in emergency situations, you are the one who decides what happens to your body.

  • Spoil yourself

Once you got medical care and things are safe, make sure to make yourself feel great. Despite having to spend some extra money, you will at least have a great time.

So, do whatever you like. Get a comfortable and soft bed, and ensure that the room is quiet enough. Make sure that you have everything you need, from cable TV to Wi-Fi and even room service.

You can even relax in a deep bathtub and have some music. If you must, savour some wine in the bathtub. It seems like a romantic movie scene, but at least you’ll enjoy yourself. You’re sick or injured after all, so do everything it takes to feel better.

Can You Prevent Illness?

If you’re thinking about what to do if you get sick abroad, then maybe you should consider preventing it beforehand.

Despite not having any option left when getting sick than taking medicine, you can try to prevent it before hitting the road. You will learn that your mom was right when she was telling you to sleep well and take your vitamins. Here are some things you could do to prevent illness before leaving abroad:

  • Enjoy garlic: Your partner may not be so happy about that extra garlic you ordered with your food, and may avoid your breath for weeks. Still, it is a known fact that garlic is good for fighting infections. Apparently, it boosts the immune system. Therefore, tell your partner that if you get ill, you won’t be able to kiss them either, so they should get used to garlic for a while.
  • Drink tea: The occasions when you’d drink tea over beer or wine are probably very rare. While people say you can’t have fun drinking tea, it can significantly help you prevent illness. Apparently, hot green or black tea with honey and lemon is a miracle. Honey is anti-bacterial. Moreover, drinking and breathing in steam can stimulate the hair follicles. As a result, you can reject germs in an easier way.
  • Enjoy the sun: You’ve probably heard about the benefits of Vitamin D on your body. It can boost your immune system significantly. Maybe this will make you leave your laptop and phone and consider sunbathing.

Final Thoughts

Getting sick or injured abroad can be a real nuisance. There are a lot of things to take care of before and after leaving to unknown lands. Although they can give you headaches, it’s better to take care of everything to fully enjoy your holiday.

If you were wondering what to do if you get sick abroad or what to do if you get injured abroad, hopefully this guide provided the information you needed.