Getting sick while traveling isn’t any fun. Coming down with a cold, developing a fever, or catching a stomach bug is annoying anytime, but it can be inconvenient or even dangerous if it happens to you while you’re away from home—especially if your business travel takes you to other countries. Here’s how to protect yourself if you get sick while traveling.
Before You Leave
- Before you leave home, contact your health insurance company to find out what kind of coverage you have when traveling, especially if you’re traveling internationally. Ask your carrier for advice on how to get proper healthcare at your destination, and be sure to carry your insurance card with you at all times. Check to see if your carrier has a 24-hour medical advice hotline.
- If your health insurance carrier doesn’t cover you while you’re traveling to certain destinations, consider buying short-term health insurance.
- Be sure to pack a full supply of any medications that you may need while you’re traveling. Carry them in their original containers.
- If you have a pre-existing condition, carry a letter from your doctor explaining what the condition is and how it is being treated. Be sure the letter includes your doctor’s phone number.
- Check with the Centers for Disease Control to see if vaccinations are suggested or required in the country you’re visiting.
- Diarrhea is the most common travel-related health problem, striking 30% to 70% of travelers. Diarrhea is most likely to occur during trips to high-risk areas including most of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, and Central and South America. See a doctor right away if you have diarrhea and a fever over 102 degrees F, if you have bloody diarrhea, or if you are becoming dehydrated.
- If you are overseas and need emergency assistance, contact the local embassy or consulate.
- Seek medical care immediately if you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, or if you develop a fever and flu-like symptoms in a place where there is a risk of malaria.