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Today, I’m here to bring you the next topic from my special 2018 series for Kita the Explorer in which I speak to you about specially requested topics from my subscribers/followers in relation to travel. So, you can either read this in blog format OR watch in vlog format (up above)!
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Now…on to this week’s topic…Sick and In Another Country!
Have you ever been on vacation in another country and have gotten a stomach ache or a cold? If not, do you fear this happening to you? Well, I have had a variety of illnesses while traveling abroad and it is NOT fun! It is worse than being at home to be honest. So today, I’m going to give you some tips to prep for this (if it happens) and what to do when it does.
First, let me give to you the preparation tips:
So you never know what you may run into when you travel. You may say hey I don't get sick much at home but when something turns for the worse and the place you are at doesn't have the same medications you have at home, it could make your trip MISERABLE. Here are a few items you should have packed with you...JUST IN CASE!
Pack your antacids (popular brand Tums): I don't usually buy the popular brand as they usually cost more and the off brands work just as well. But you can chew on these little tablets and they help settle a small tummy ache. They can help you make it through the day! Trust me I KNOW...I just had to do this last week!
If you get motion sickness, try to carry pills to help you with it. A popular brand here is Dramamine. If you know you have motion sickness, you can take these tablets before you get in a car, on a roller-coaster, a boat, etc. and they will help prevent this. I used to have to take these when I was a child as the motion of the car used to always make me sick and these
would prevent me from having this sickness.
If you are going to higher altitudes, be sure to get you some coca tea or altitude pills. If not, you will be miserable the entire time you are at that higher altitude. With altitude pills, you usually have to start taking them before you go, while you are there, and finish them after you decline. You can get a prescription for these pills from a travel clinic or your doctor. My favorite travel clinic in Atlanta USA is the Peachtree Travel Clinic (I am not affiliated with this clinic, I am just providing a resource).
You may also want to prepare for stronger bouts of stomach illness or traveler's diarrhea. Buy over the counter medicine such as Diamode or Imodium. (FYI...traveler's diarrhea is a "digestive tract disorder that commonly causes loose stools and abdominal cramps. It's caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Fortunately, traveler's diarrhea usually isn't serious — it's just unpleasant" (Mayo Clinic).
During travel, you could potentially be exposed to someone who has a common cold or the flu. To prevent this, you could take a mask, your preferred cold medicine, or tea such as chamomile.
Sometimes, you may encounter stronger illnesses such as a digestive problem that won't go away or some type of non-emergency bacterial infection. It is good to have prescribed (well for US Citizens) some type of antibiotic like azithromycin for stomach illnesses or amoxicillin for allergy related illnesses. I usually have azithromycin with me as I needed on one trip for an extreme case of water contamination.
If you suffer from congestion such as sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, or bronchitis, try taking medication that helps break down mucus (i.e. Mucinex). Nasal sprays may also help with this. I also suffer with congestion and a lot of times hotel rooms do NOT help. The air in the room is just not right. Try adjusting the temperature in the room so it isn't so dry or take a travel size humidifier (check out an example here but I do not sponsor this product).
Contact your health insurance company to see if it covers anything that happens abroad. If not or you don't have health insurance, look into getting health insurance for your trip. You can also look into getting an international SOS card. I have one and it is for emergencies. It helps you if you lose any of your medications or if need to get to a hospital immediately. Check them out at www.internationalsos.com (I am not affiliated with this company, I am just providing a resource). I keep one with me for all of my international travels!
Be sure to carry ANYTHING you need for your own known medical issues. DO NOT THINK that just because you are gone for two days that nothing will happen...because it can.
So what do you do if you actually get sick abroad:
Determine how severe the illness is; if it is life threatening find your way to emergency as soon as possible! AGAIN, IF IT IS LIFE THREATENING, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY!
Check your bag of the things you prepared above to see if any of those items will help. Hopefully you packed and prepared well!
If you don't have what you need, try finding yourself to a local pharmacy. Ask help from the hotel staff or a trusted individual to find one. Someone at the pharmacy can help you find what you need. In Denmark, my friends and I had to do this as we ended up with injuries from hiking and needed anti-inflammatory medicine. The local pharmacy gave us what we needed and it worked well!
Drink plenty of water!
Take one day off from your schedule and get some rest! Yes, you may miss a day of your itinerary but you could miss the rest of the entire trip if you do not.
If you are not sure what is wrong, try contacting a doctor online.
I hope this provides you a few tips on how to combat being sick while abroad. It has unfortunately happened to me multiple times and it isn't fun. I have lost days or had to keep moving while feeling miserable. I want that to be as minimized for you as possible. Keep in mind I am NOT A DOCTOR but these are things have helped me make it through. For any medical condition of yours, please contact your doctor.
So, I want to hear from you! Have you ever been sick on vacation or abroad? Let me know your experience in the comments below.
Have you ever tried any of these items? If so, let me know how they worked for you.
If you have any questions, comment below!
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Thank you for reading!
~ Kita the Explorer