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In Case of Emergency - Medical Care When Traveling Abroad

In Case of Emergency - Medical Care When Traveling Abroad

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) less than 20% of travelers who visit foreign countries sought medical advice before visiting their destination. And lately, social media is full of reports of tourists getting fatally ill while abroad. So what can you do to prevent a possible health emergency? Here are some tips from the CDC on how to prevent and prepare for health emergencies while traveling.

Before You Go

  • Consider travel insurance: Even if you're covered back home, buying travel insurance can give you peace of mind and helps avoid a hefty ER bill if an incident does occur.
  • Let the U.S. Embassy know your plans: Registering your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate makes you easily identifiable in case of emergency and they can also contact family at home. They even provide you a list of local healthcare providers and medical facilities who speak the same language, if available.
  • Make sure you’re up-to-date on shots: Some countries require tourists to get yellow fever vaccines or malaria prevention drugs at least seven to 10 days before they go. Make sure to read up on the rules and requirements of wherever you’re visiting.

While You’re There

  • Take basic safety precautions: Do a full check of your room before unpacking any belongings and settling in. This includes examining windows and doors to make sure the locks work, checking your mini bar for tampering and locating emergency phone numbers.
  • Know what to avoid: Read up on recommended practices in your country and those to avoid, like drinking tap water or walking barefoot.
  • Be wary of pets: This may go without saying for some, but don’t pet the animals! Animal bites and scratches can transmit rabies and other diseases. The vaccine for such exposure isn't available in every country.

If you return home from your travels and feel ill, seek out medical attention. Most physicians will likely ask for details from your trip, so remember what you ate, where you stayed and activities you did while there.