Getting sick in a far away land may sound like a scene from a horror movie. You go in for an unknown rash or bellyache and wake up without a kidney. Although it makes for an intense movie plot, this is not what happens too often. The biggest stories always make the headlines and I think a lot of times there is more to the story. Preparing yourself ahead of time and taking the right precautions then breaking an arm wont scare you anymore then it would at home.
The best way to protect yourself from something serious is to buy travel insurance. It’s a great way to give yourself peace of mind. This is not, of course, a fool proof method to keep yourself safe and healthy. But knowing that if the worst does happen, or even something very inconvenient like a broken arm, with travel insurance you know as you walk or wheeled into a foreign hospital that you have some kind of coverage. There are many different type and coverage plans for global insurance policy’s. Reading before you make a decision on a plan is important with any insurance, but especially because this is insurance for the unknown in a foreign place. Its very beneficial to know what the plan does cover and what it does not. It wont help to get out the fine print paperwork to read up on as you are bleeding out. If your plan covers hospital visits then you wont hesitate to tell someone in an emergency to take you to the emergency room right away. There are some extras and add on’s to different global insurance plans that are worth knowing that could benefits your travels. Things like medication, X-rays, and most commonly needed out-patient treatment can be covered. Along with transportation to get back home if medically necessary. Learning how to file a claim isn’t a bad idea, brush up the basics on before you leave the comfort of your own home and country.
Knowing where you are and what is available around you if very important. The nearest medical facility may be very basic or may not have staff in at regular hours, depending what part of the world you may be in. You never know when a monkey will bite you. There is always something to be said about preparing ahead a time. Taking a small first aid kid is great only if you pack it yourself. There are many pre-made first aid kits available but adding your own medication and personalized items . By packing your kit yourself you will know exactly what is inside also. Some important items i recommenced in your personal first aid kit are: small pair of scissors, tweezers, band aids, gauze, tape, antiseptic, antibiotic, and some over the counter pills for various occasions. The most common OTC pills that should be included are things for gastrointestinal issues, pain, and respiratory. Antihistamine, decongestant, cough drops, ibuprofen, acetaminophen anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, should all be included in your homemade kit. Having a durable bag or box to put all of these items is almost as important as the items inside, so take your time when choosing a container. I also added safety pins and a sewing kit for more unknowns.
Getting sick far from home doesn’t have to be as bad as the movies make it out to be. Being prepared and being able to “roll with the punches” is always the key to not over stressing and taking care of yourself. When I arrived in Thailand in a smaller and not so touristy area for a week. My belly was not happy with some previous food decisions I had made. I am not sure what adventurous mystery food I enjoyed that did not agree with me, but there I was in a not so English speaking area and I was in need a simple but yet important medical care. In order to not get too description, I will say that I was in need of a poop. My body was holding out on me for days and finally I couldn’t wait much longer rolling around on my private hostel bed in pain. I was forced to go out and try my luck trying to explains what medical I was in need of. I was also kicking myself for not packing a complete first aid kid. With the help of google translate and forcing myself to leave the relative comfort of my room I headed off down the sidewalk with had rows of different shops. Seeing the green cross on the shop front indicates a pharmacy, now the only thing left to conquer is the language barrier. With my translator ready with the Thai word for laxatives I walked into a family run shop with the mother tending to a baby on her lap and the older son and father working the counter. I tried my tongue with pronouncing the Thai word with a quite giggle and confused looks , i just handed over the phone and they understood what I was trying to say. They landed over a blister pack of a brand name I recognized with the rest written in Thai. I was in luck and only had to swallow my pride to walk into a drug store to ask for help to poop.