What To Do If You Get Sick When Traveling


One of the problems with traveling abroad is that you might end up getting sick and have no idea which doctor to see. Heck, finding a good doctor in your hometown can be hard enough, how are you supposed to do it in a foreign country?

What to do if you get sick when traveling is a really hard thing to give a specific answer to. There are quite a few different routes you can take, none of which are that great.

In life there are always pros and cons to any decisions you will make. You need to weigh the two and decide if the cons outweigh the pros or vice versa.

Of course if you get sick or injured really badly then there isn’t much of a choice, head to a doctor or hospital and get the help that you need. But how do you know which one to go to?

Finding A Good Doctor When Traveling

So how do you go about finding a good doctor when traveling? Well there are a few different ways to do this. You can hop on an expat message board if the city or country you are visiting has one and ask around.

While there are far to many trolls on message boards these days there are still some good kind people out there that will share the advice that you need. You can use the forum search, or start a thread of your own.

Depending on how remote of a place you are traveling you might not be able to find a good doctor, but you usually should. In some places you might get advice like ‘don’t stay here overnight’ which can sound a bit scary.

One of the main reasons you might get this advice is because there are going to be other sick people there and if you are in an area with lots of mosquitoes you don’t want anything transferring over to you.

If you can’t find any advice on a message board you can try and ask around for what the nicest hospital in the area is. In fact knowing the name of the best hospital in town is something you should know before you ever head to a city.

Asking locals who is a good doctor may have you visiting some doctor that is good for their budget but not yours. Know where the best medical care can be found before you fly anywhere so you can ask to go to the right place if there is an emergency.

If you don’t have travel insurance then you may want to put a card in your wallet that says ‘contact xxxx’ in case of an emergency. That way they can call your family or close friends and get the go ahead to do a procedure if you are unconscious.

Otherwise with no insurance they may not start a procedure that costs a few hundred dollars until you wake up, and by then it may be to late.

Be Your Own Doctor When Traveling


If you go to a doctor these days there is a really good chance they are just going to Google search your symptoms and see what pops up. You have access to Google also right?

Self medicating is always a bit risky, but so is traveling, and so is trusting doctors that you don’t know. It really isn’t that hard to type in your symptoms or search for what you think you might have and read up on it.

There are many medical forums out there where you can ask for assistance as well. You can tell your symptoms, get their opinion on what you have, and then back it up with your own research.

There will be lists of drugs you can take and treatments you can do and you can easily head to a pharmacy in many third world countries and get just about any drug you need. Or they will know of their version of that drug.

This may sound a bit sketchy, but there is one last line of defense for you and that is the pharmacist. Many times pharmacists will know just as much as a doctor will know, and you can make sure you are taking the right thing.

This way you are using your brain, Google, message boards, and a pharmacist to make sure you are getting the right medical care. That is probably better than using some doctor that you don’t know.

A lot of times pharmacies won’t have the exact version of the drug you are asking for but they will have a booklet that tells them what drugs are the same only with a different name. Save the name of the drug you need in your phone and show it to them and they will find the right thing for you as long as they have it.

Make The Best Of A Bad Situation

Having to ask about what to do if you get sick when traveling means you are in a pretty bad situation. You are on vacation and want to have fun not deal with this crap.

Sadly when you travel and get introduced to life in different habitats there are going to be illnesses your body hasn’t built up an immunity to yet. That means you are going to be pretty susceptible to catching them.

Obviously don’t drink the local water, try to avoid ice, and try to eat at the cleanest (and most popular) restaurants you can find. That will limit your chances, but it won’t totally negate them.

Many people ask about what to take if you get travelers tummy? Don’t take Immodium, try and find a drug called ‘Ercerfuryl’ sometimes known as ‘Nifuroxazide.’ This is a much better option and will get you cleared up as quickly as possible.

Outside of that our advice is to avoid doctors and hospitals as much as you can and try to figure things out on your own. Consult with the pharmacist and see if he concurs with your findings.

But if something big happens don’t be silly, head to the best doctor you can find and get the care you need.  As a digital nomad it can be hard to know what to do if you get sick when traveling.  Hopefully you found this post helpful.

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