What To Do If You Get Sick While Traveling (2024)


Ordering a very nice bottle of wine at my favorite restaurant was a mistake;I said I wouldn’t drink.my head is heavy in my hands, pounding in pain, but I want to make the most of my trip andpretend that I wouldn’t rather be folded into the down comforter of my hotel bed than out on a Friday night in Austin.

This shouldn’t be happening: I wiped my airplane tray table with a Lysol wipe, Purell-ed my hands before dipping my fingers into the mini bag of pretzels, swallowed a Melatonin before bed the previous night to ward off any jet lag from my trip to Europe the week before. But by the next day, my limbs were sore, my brow sweating and my must-eat-five-meals-a-day travel appetite was totally gone —it’sobviousI’m sick. I have a fever andI am miserable. How did this happen?

Contagious germs are everywhere when you travel, but ignoring the symptoms of impending illness can destroy an entire itinerary. And actually being sick when you’re not at home can be completely miserable. I’m not someone who gets sick often, thus, I was totally unprepared to heal myself as I slumped over a should-be-healing bowl of posole in South Austin, desperate for something to speed up my recovery — it didn’t.

Winter illnesses like the flu or even a nasty cold can totally ruin a trip, so when it’s too late to prevent getting sick while traveling (despite your best efforts), acknowledge that you’re not one hundred percent, and do something about it. Headaches, muscle achesand even a stomach ache can all be signs of a flu or cold, says gastroenterologistRoshini Rajapaksa. Don’t discount your abnormally sore arms as a byproduct of lifting that too-heavy carry-on. A cough, runny nose and sore throat can also be signs of impending illness.

The easiest, and perhaps most important thing you can immediately do to help your body isstay hydrated. Drink water and avoid alcohol,which“will suppress your immune system so it’s harder to get better quickly,” says Dr. Rajapaksa. “And stay out of the sun, which can make you very dehydrated.”

Preventing overexertion should get top billing on your itinerary when cold or flu symptoms become apparent —rest is essential in healing your body. As difficult as it may be, clear out your itinerary to cozyup in that fluffy hotel bed. “Sleep is really important,” says Dr. Rajapaksa. Splurge on a movie rental, you may be there a while.

Craig Webb, Area Medical Director at MedExpress, also recommends taking advantage of the free hot water in your hotel room. “Recuperate with a warm shower or bath to help clear your sinuses, drink hot tea to soothe your sore throatand take a nap,” he suggests.

“Your body —and others —will thank you for it later.”

Still not feeling better after your in-room relaxation attempts? Help can easily be on the way. “If you’re in a hotel or resort, they often have a hotel doctor who can be called to see you and deal with minor things, and maybe give you medicines to help you feel better,” says Dr. Rajapaksa. “If you feel very severe, go to urgent care or the emergency room.” And don’t procrastinate: Medicines can be prescribed early on in the flu “to lessen the severity and shorten the duration,” says Dr. Rajapaksa.

Dr. Webb also recommends enlisting the concierge to help with any and all needs, be it making an appointment with a local doctor, procuring electrolytes to keep you hydrated or ensuring you receive the other items you need to help you get well.

Being away from the comfort of your microwave or favorite sick day delivery place can be unsettling, and the thought not being able to prepare food can be a challenge. When it comes to eating,Dr. Rajapaksa recommends seeking out bland foods and avoiding raw foods and dairy. Try ordering plain rice, pasta or broth, and if room service doesn’t have a decent option, see if prepared groceries or basic restaurant foods can be delivered to your accommodations.

Even if you’re that person who doesn’t get sick, your strong immune system can be as reliable as getting a standby seat on a flight, especially when you’re in a new, unfamiliar environment and exposed to new germs and bacteria. Always travel with your insurance card —and even a copy of that information, to be safe. And take a few minutes, especially when traveling abroad, to flag important emergency numbers, reliable urgent care centers and top rated hospitals near where you’re staying, just in case sickness hits.

Packing a smallemergency kitwill also be useful should you need pain and symptom relief in a pinch. Dr. Rajapaksa recommends a kit with ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetophenone (Tylenol) as well as Pepto Bismol, which can help with stomach-related illness and contains antibacterial properties which help fight off an infection. World traveler and critical care nurse Leslie Medley never travels without a Z-pack (Zithromax), which is “a broad-spectrum antibiotic,” as well as Vitamin C supplements, Imodium, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, to ward off and help cure any maladies that may arise. Though they seem common, these items can be difficult to find outside of major cities or in foreign countries, and having them on-hand, especially when you’re too ill to procure them yourself, can be hugely beneficial.

While you may be eager to get home while your nose is leaking all over that hotel remote, flying back to comfort may not be the best idea. “If you’re very congested, being on an airplane may make you feel worse,” says Dr. Rajapaksa, pointing out that the air pressure can create unpleasant symptoms. Airlines will typically charge a fee to rebook your flight, but that fee should be worth not extending your illness —and infecting other travelers.

Want to stay healthy for your next trip? Dr. Rajapaksa emphasizes, “Take a probiotic regularly to help your immune system be more resilient.” Just think of it as a wellness boost to your frequent flier miles and you'll feel gold status in no time.

Courtesy of TravelAndLeisure.com. Original article can be read here.

What To Do If You Get Sick While Traveling (2024)


What To Do If You Get Sick While Traveling? ›

Special care if you become ill or injured while traveling

What to do if you get sick while staying in a hotel? ›

Call your hotel concierge.

It's not widely advertised, but many hotels offer help to guests who become ill during their stay. Your concierge can refer you to a reputable clinic, provide basic first aid supplies, or direct you to the in-house pharmacy for over-the-counter medications.

What to do if you get sick out of state? ›

Here are some other places you can turn to for health care while you're traveling.
  1. #1: Nurse hotline. Calling a nurse hotline is a great first step. ...
  2. #2: Virtual care and telehealth. You can't learn the cause of your sickness or get medicine from a nurse hotline. ...
  3. #3: Retail health clinic. ...
  4. #4: Urgent care center.

How to deal with a sore throat while travelling? ›

Craig Webb, Area Medical Director at MedExpress, also recommends taking advantage of the free hot water in your hotel room. “Recuperate with a warm shower or bath to help clear your sinuses, drink hot tea to soothe your sore throat and take a nap,” he suggests. “Your body — and others — will thank you for it later.”

What is it called when you get sick from traveling? ›

Motion sickness is a common condition that happens when you're in motion, like riding in a vehicle, while sitting still. It happens when your eyes, inner ear and body send conflicting messages to your brain.

Is it common to get sick on vacation? ›

You may be staying up later, consuming more alcohol and getting less exercise than usual. You're also more likely to be in crowded places for prolonged periods, interacting with a more diverse population than you're used to.” All of these factors can weaken your immune system and set the stage for getting sick.

What to do if you get sick while traveling reddit? ›

If you do get sick:
  1. Do ask for medical help. ...
  2. Drink lots of water, and sports drinks. ...
  3. BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apples, toast.
  4. If no improvement in 36 to 48 hrs, go to the hospital or get a doctor.
Sep 3, 2023

What happens if I need medical care in another country? ›

The U.S. government does not pay overseas medical bills. The patient must pay all hospital and other expenses. You can find lists of doctors and hospitals in the country you are visiting. Check the website of the U.S. embassy in the country you are visiting.

Can a tourist see a doctor in the US? ›

If you require medical care while visiting the U.S., there are several options for seeking treatment. You can visit an urgent care center, walk-in clinic, or hospital emergency room for immediate medical needs.

How to beat a cold while traveling? ›

Most importantly, if you get sick during your travels, get plenty of rest, eat bland foods and drink plenty of water until you feel well enough to resume your vacation itinerary. Medicate moderately.

Is it normal to get a sore throat when traveling? ›

Sore throats can be common when travelling long distances. Keep a supply of lozenges available and suck them as required for sore throat.

How long does post flight flu last? ›

You usually have symptoms for around 3 to 7 days – once you're through the worst of the flu, you will still have some lingering symptoms to recover from, which can include a dry cough, fatigue, and weakness.

Should I travel if I have a sore throat? ›

To reduce the potential risk of passing on infections to others on board an aircraft, you should postpone travel if you are actively unwell, especially if you have a fever, until you have fully recovered.

Which tablet is best for travel sickness? ›

These medications may help:
  • Scopolamine (Transderm Scop). Most commonly prescribed medication for motion sickness. ...
  • Promethazine (Phenergan). Administered 2 hours before travel. ...
  • Cyclizine (Marezine). Works best when taken at least 30 minutes before travel. ...
  • Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). ...
  • Meclizine (Bonine).

How long does travel sickness last? ›

What to Expect: All symptoms of motion sickness usually go away in 4 hours after stopping the motion. As for the future, people usually don't outgrow motion sickness. Sometimes, it becomes less severe in adults.

Why do I get sick every time I go to Mexico? ›

Often people will blame the water in Mexico for certain bouts of sickness when what is really the issue is over-indulgence in regards to alcohol and food. Keep in mind that salty, spicy foods and alcohol dehydrate you and so it is important that you compensate more thoroughly.

What happens if you get sick at a resort? ›

Notify Your Concierge

They can assist in recommending a doctor or pharmacy, making figuring out what to do easier. Some resorts even have an onsite doctor who can help diagnose your illness and get you additional medical attention if necessary.

What happens if you test positive for COVID while staying at a hotel? ›

If a guest tests positive, the hotel strongly encourages the guest to seek a medical facility as the hotel is not designed or equipped to handle medical care. If a guest is under quarantine, the guest may reach out to the front office to talk through options for food delivery outside his/her guest room door.

How do you disinfect a hotel room for Covid? ›

Clean visibly dirty surfaces using detergent and water. Follow with a registered disinfectant on EPA's List N. Follow the directions on the label for use, including contact time, to ensure safe and effective use of the products. Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.

Can you stay in bed when sick? ›

It's tempting to stay in bed all day when you're sick, and you certainly will need more rest than usual. But try to avoid napping within a few hours of bedtime, and rest somewhere outside your bedroom until it's time to go to sleep.

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