What to Do If You Fall Sick Abroad?

The likelihood of you falling sick overseas might be higher and more common than you think. In fact, there’s a scientific reason behind this.

But before you get into serious complications, we show you easy ways to tackle it on a foreign country:

#1 Self-medicate & try home remedies

travellers diarrhoea

When you start seeing early symptoms of common cold, fever, or discomfort, start with self-medication immediately (it’s wise to pack lozenges, charcoal pills and Panadol).

You could also try out some natural remedies — we know that adding honey and lemon to your tea helps to boost your immune system or gargle salt water to ease your coughing. Try peppermint, ginger or chamomile tea to clear your runny nose. Drink up to replenish your fluids especially if you have diarrhoea.

#2 Contact your insurance provider

This is why buying a travel insurance is the best thing you could do for yourself. If you don’t feel any better (after taking your own meds), it’s best to see a doctor. But first, make a quick call to your insurance company. Whether it’s a trip to the clinic or hospital, or collecting medicine from a nearby pharmacy, it’s best to check what medical expenses will be covered. Also: Documents you’ll require when submitting your insurance claims (such as proof of purchase of medication).

In fact, some insurance companies also allow claims if you consult a Chinese medicine practitioner, provided they’re registered with the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners board.

Your insurance company can also be of help in recommending a healthcare professional, and guide you through the process.

#3 Seek local care

travellers diarrhoea

Insured or not, your priority should be to find a local healthcare professional. Pro tip: The International Society of Travel Medicine website has a Global Travel Clinic Directory, which lists clinics (including physicians, pharmacists, nursing professionals and more) from almost 100 countries. It also includes the type of health care provided, the languages they speak, the locations and contact numbers.

No internet to get access to the website? Worry not! Contact the Singapore embassy (Tel: 63798000 or 63798800) where a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Duty Officer or consulate could assist you with finding a suitable local healthcare professional, and even help you contact your next-of-kin if necessary.

#4 Recover well

travellers diarrhoea

Now that you’ve gotten your medication, it’s best to take at least a day off from your intended travel plans to rest up. As much as you want to immediately continue your trip to make the most of your time there, you need time to recuperate. Think positive and use this time to enjoy the hotel amenities such as free WiFi, television time, a hot bath, and even room service.

#5 Don’t share the germs

Think for your travel buddies. Don’t share food, drinks, utensils or even pillows. Wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Try to carry your own stuff and avoid touching theirs, such as their phones and keys.

After a day or two of resting, you should be feeling better to go out and catch up with the time you’ve already lost. Stick to bland, nutritious food (avoid street food).

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