sick studentFew things stand to ruin a long-awaited trip abroad than falling ill on your journey. Who wants to spend their vacation sneezing, wheezing, or worse? Unfortunately, despite our best wishes, getting sick overseas is bound to happen to somebody. If that unlucky soul is you, it’s important to keep the following in mind:


While medications are universal, in that a doctor in Argentina is likely to prescribe antibiotics for strep throat the same way one in Canada would, the names and accessibility varies from country to country. If you’re given medication overseas and unsure what you were given, use to get more information. Chances are you’ll find out it’s a medication you’re familiar with, just under a different name. In case you’re unfamiliar with the drug, reliable online resources will help to explain the effects, possible side-effects, and other important information.


If you’re living in a country with single-payer universal healthcare, this won’t be much of a problem. However, if you live in the United States, it’s imperative you contact your health insurance provider prior to taking a trip overseas. In the event you become seriously ill and require immediate medical attention, the costs of care will fall on your provider back home. They may reject the claims and be able to shift responsibility for the medical debt onto you. Simply put, you don’t want to be hesitant to seek treatment because you’re uncertain whether or not you’re covered by insurance.


If you’re sick while on vacation, you don’t want to spread the germs to those you’re traveling with. Try and keep yourself contained in a room alone for the worst of the illness. It’s also a good idea to avoid airports and train stations while sick overseas; not only do you want to spread the illness to strangers, your compromised immune system is in no situation to take on another pesky virus.

Healing Process

Finding a quiet and isolated place to recover when sick on vacation is imperative for the healing process. Apart from that, healing is the same as it is back home: staying hydrated, getting proper amounts of rest, and avoiding vitamin deficiency are essential for the fastest recovery possible.

Coming Home

Coming home won’t be too difficult for most people who get sick while overseas. Other than the agony of a 12-hour flight while still suffering from a sore throat, you’re sure to make it back safe and sound. However, if your symptoms are serious and the cause unclear, you might be subject to quarantine before being allowed to re-enter your home country. If you find yourself placed in quarantine, don’t panic; despite what you’ve seen in the movies, this is a routine and mostly uneventful process undertaken out of an abundance of caution.

Getting sick overseas sucks, there’s no way around it. However, if you find yourself feeling unwell while hundreds or thousands of miles from home, taking the proper precautions and steps will minimize the damage to your health and increase the odds of salvaging some of your overseas trip.


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