Friday, January 27, 2012

What If You Get Sick-Travel Preparedness

Travel has its risks...take precautions before you leave home.
Sapa, Vietnam (photo by E.)
Here is a problem that I have never talked about: How to be prepared when you are on the road and get a cold or worse yet the flu? Yikes! Now this does happen boys and girls.  As optimistic as I am you would think I would just not worry about this but I do.  It can be a big problem. While I don't have all the answers I do have a few steps you should take before you board a plane, set out on the road in a car or a motor home. Be prepared!  (PLEASE leave a comment if you have more or better ideas.  I will link to a blog post if you have written about this too.) 

We are going to make the assumption that you have insurance or are on Medicare.
  1. Before you drive pack your bags be sure to contact your doctor and let them know what you are up to. I suggest that you go to the office and get a quick going over just to make sure you are good to go.  
  2. Get a flu shot far enough in advance that it is effective If you are leaving the country be sure to ask your doctor about any other needed immunizations. Hepititus seems to be a major problem.
  3. Ask the doctor for prescriptions for illnesses that can crop up.Urinary track infections, asthma can be examples of a easy fix if you are prepared. If you are traveling overseas fill the prescription before you leave home.
  4. Take all the usual cold medications, inhalers, tummy ache stuff (Imodium) and head ache pills. It will give you peace of mind.
  5. Check with your insurance company to see what they are going to do if you are hospitalized or need to visit  a doctor while traveling. Our insurance company covers us when we travel but if yours doesn't, there are companies that do. Go over what you are suppose to do in the worse case scenario. Visualize what you will do if this happens.
  6. Always travel with both your supplemental insurance card and your Medicare card. In my case I never use the Medicare card at home but when we are not at home they do not know my insurance company and are very suspicious. (I have had this happen.) 
  7. Carry any medical records, prescription lists and personal contacts (children and doctor's number?). Also carry your living will or anything else that might be needed.
  8. Talk this over with your spouse/partner. Miscommunication can be a huge problem. Always know where the other's wallet or purse is and how to find their cards, etc. If you are in a relationship where your are hiding medical conditions from each other, make an exception and come clean with each other.  
  9. If one of you should become ill, remember that the partner standing needs to rest and eat. Nothing can be worse that the well person getting ill because they tried to do too much.
  10. Let your family know what you plan it. If you don't they can even be a problem.b
  1. Wash your hands...a lot. Drink a lot of water. Stay well. I don't want you to need this list...ever!This is important so don't blow me off.  I know what I am talking about!
Wash your hand...a lot. Drink more water than you think you need. Stay well. I don't want you to need this list...ever! This is important so don't blow me off. I know what I am talking about.

Note:  I need your comments.  Please let me know if you have more information or personal experiences you would like to share.


  1. A very thorough post! I did get sick in Barcelona but my son and his sweetie had gotten sick with the same bug about 12 hours before and managed to get some medication from a pharmacy which also worked for me. It is hard to prepare for everything but very good to think about and have some contingency plans.

  2. The most important thing you can carry is the number of the consulate of the country you are in.the State department is your friend.
    The embassy used to tell us to let yourself be ill for 24 hours and then start stomach treatments (imodiiom). If the ingested a bad food, you will have a better chance of expelling it. Always treat fevers.
    I don't think I would carry my will. Instead I would leave it all with a trusted friend . If I needed it, in this day, I could get it from them. I do carry a med list.
    Last, bring some extra money to the hospital. Most Asian countries do not provide bedside service. Either your family cares for your normal needs (including food) or you pay someone to do it. Strap it to your waist:)

  3. Thank you juhli and Jeannette. I have experience with both of these issue.

    The pharmacy and the embassy saved my bacon.



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