Getting sick can put a damper on any vacation, but it can be especially unsettling and even scary when it happens in another country. Here, Matthew Klapetzky, a registered nurse and the clinical director of Passport Health, the travel clinic at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, shares tips on what to do if illness hits you while abroad.
Pack a First-Aid Kit
“The majority of minor health issues that international travelers contend with can easily be self-treated with a good first-aid kit,” Mr. Klapetzky said. It should include an anti-diarrhea medication such as Imodium A-D or Pepto-Bismol because diarrhea is the most common ailment among travelers from the United States and hits around half of them. “This happens when your body gets a stomach bug as a reaction to a natural bacteria of a given land, and though it’s not usually serious, it lasts two to four days and can be extremely dehydrating,” he said.
Other musts in the kit: ibuprofen to reduce fevers, muscle inflammation and joint pain; bandages in assorted sizes along with an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin for cuts and wounds; oral rehydration supplements such as CeraLyte to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating and diarrhea; blister pads; and fiber supplements to ease constipation, also common during travel.
Also, be sure to carry an EpiPen if you have allergies such as to tree nuts.
Minor Issue? Seek Local Care
If you twist your ankle, develop heat rash or have another not-so-serious situation where you need to see a doctor, don’t hesitate to use local care. “Remember that the doctors where you are in the world are used to treating ailments specific to that region, such as severe sunburn, which is common in the tropics, so they are going to be your best bet to treat such issues,” Mr. Klapetzky said.
Travelers can find local medical care through the State Department website but should be aware that the department does not take responsibility for the quality of service provided by any doctor or hospital on the list.
In a Crisis, Contact the Embassy
In more dire health situations such as a heart attack or serious car accident, Mr. Klapetzky suggested contacting the local embassy of the United States. “The embassy can help get you airlifted out of the country and back home if that’s what’s required and can also help you, if you need it, arrange to have money wired over to pay for your care,” he said. Travelers should note that while the embassy is a valuable resource, it does not pay for these services or any medical care.
This post was excerpted from nytimes.com. Full attribution and a link to this article follow directly.
Published by nytimes.com
July 29, 2016
Written by Shivani Vora – Travel: Travel Tips
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