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What To Do When Becoming Sick While Traveling

Armen Hareyan's picture

In case you become sick or injured while traveling there are several cases that require you to see a doctor as soon as you can.

What To Do if You Become Sick or Injured While Traveling:

* See a doctor right away if you:
o Have diarrhea AND a high fever (above 102° F)
o Have bloody diarrhea
o Are visiting a malaria-risk area and become sick with a fever or flu-like illness
o Are bitten or scratched by an animal
o Have been in a car accident
o Have been seriously injured
o Are sexually assaulted

Drink plenty of clean water or other fluids to replace any lost body fluids (usually caused by diarrhea). For severe diarrhea, you may want to use oral rehydration solutions (ORS). To learn more about travelers’ diarrhea and how to make ORS, read on Travelers’ Diarrhea.

Contact the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you think you may need assistance. Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens.

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To contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country where you are visiting:
o Dial: 1-888-407-4747 if calling from the U.S. or Canada,
o Dial: 00 1 202-501-4444 if calling from overseas, or
o Find your local US Embassy at Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions.
* See Seeking Health Care Abroad for more information and resources.
* Your evacuation insurance provider, if you purchased it, will also be able to advise you.

What To Do if You Are Sick on an Airplane:

* Tell a crew member as soon as possible.
* If you are coughing, you may be asked to wear a surgical mask or to cover your mouth and nose.
* If your illness is serious, the crew may move you to a different part of the plane or, if necessary, redirect the airplane and arrange for you to exit at the nearest airport to receive medical care.

What To Do if You Are Sick on a Cruise Ship:

* Tell a crew member as soon as possible.
* Cruise ships usually have a small medical facility on board. Your illness may be treated in this facility.
* If your illness is serious, the medical staff may stabilize your condition and move you to a hospital on land for further treatment.

What To Do if You Are Involved in a Disaster While Traveling:

* If you are injured, seek medical attention right away.
* Clean any wound or rash immediately with soap and clean water to reduce the risk of an infection.
* Follow the instructions of emergency responders and monitor the U.S. Embassy and U.S. State Department.
* Monitor Voice of America (VOA) news broadcasts for information or announcements. Information is on the VOA website and sometimes through in-country radio and TV.
* Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you need help.
* Contact family, friends, a trusted colleague, or your employer as soon as possible after the disaster to keep them informed of your location and health status.
* Some areas are prone to certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis. To find out if your destination is at a higher risk for certain natural disasters, see the Country-specific Information Pages (U.S. Department of State) in the “Special Circumstances” section.
o For information about types of natural disasters, what to do to prepare in case one happens, and what to do after one happens, see the CDC Natural Disasters and Severe Weather website.