Help! What If I Get Sick While Away

Getting sick on the road is inevitable if you're away for long periods of time. Whether it's a slight cold or feeling ‘under the weather’ or full on lockdown in the hospital it’ll happen, no matter how many berocca you take. The question is, how do you deal with this? You can't simply call into work sick, or hide out at home in a blanket and pillow fort watching Brdget Jones with two boxes of Kleenex and lemsip. Below I've outlined what I do to firstly, prepare for the inevitable before I go and secondly, how I deal with it when I'm away for you guys.

Before You Go

A Cracking First Aid Kit

First aid kits generally make you think of a gushing flesh wound and less so of your paracetamol and aspirin items, however they all fall under the same banner and into the same box. Make sure you're not just packin bandages and burn gel, but also a hell of a lot of anti-congestants for colds, cough sweets as anything else that you can travel with that would aid you in a sickness situation.

Travel Insurance

I know a lot of you think it's a legal scam and that it's not worth it, so expensive ‘I’ll never need it’ etc - but take it from someone who's needed it in the past, it can literally save you thousands in healthcare bills. From antibiotics for tonsillitis and a doctors visit all the way to weeks in hospital for a rare parasite or disease, it's your fairy godmother and I no longer leave the country without it - sorry if that reduces my ‘cool factor’. If you haven't realised I'm a complete need already, you clearly don't follow me on Twitter.


Getting my Jabs

I'll always head over to my travel nurse and make sure I get the correct immunisatin for the countries I'm visiting. Advise constantly changes, and just checking online isn't always enough! Make sure you go and see a travel nurse as they'll have on file what you've had, when it expires and advise you on the risks in each place. Change out all my advice on getting your injections here!

Needle Pack

The last thing I'll do before heading to the slightly more remote countries is get a prescription needle pack from my doctors. They essentially will give you a pack of needles if you can prove you're going to countries far away (and not simply spondginf off the NHS to feed your heroin addiction in a safe manner), in case you're required to have jabs or blood tests abroad. We’re lucky that our medical systems can afford to simply replace and te sterilise equipment when needed, there are a huge number of countries who can't. By taking my own I can be overly confident that they're 100% sterilised.

When You're Away

Stay Put

If you feel a bug coming on, generally stay put if you can if you're somewhere with doctors surgeries nearby. Judge it by your symptoms obviously, don't delay your adventure because of a slightly runny nose but you know your body, if something is up just rest. No it's not as relaxing as at home in a hostel dorm but it's still allowing your body to rest.


Take the normal, practical steps of going to the hospital or a doctor if required. Once again, you know your body and how sick you are so you'll know if you need to. If you've got your medical insurance, just make sure you keep your receipts at all times to make your claim once your home (signed and dated by the medical team). If you're really sick, as long as you have your paperwork the hospital will just got directly to the insurance company for the dollar as this can be into the thousands depending on what's wrong.


Private room

This is not only for you but as a simple gesture of hostel etiquette. If you're really sick get yourself your own room. I know it costs a little more and that sucks if you're a budget traveller, but imagine how you’d feel if someone was in your room throwing up all night and infected you. Especially in hot countries where air con is used, those virus germs are just going to fly around until everyone is ill next week. You do not want to bump into Philis a few weeks later after sharing a room with her and infecting her meaning she lost out on her ‘no refunds’ tour of the Noosa Everglades - she will not be too friendly. It's also nicer to throw up and cry in pain from that damn tonsillitis in private don't you agree?

Keep Hydrated

s it is at home as well, it's unbelievably important to keep hydrated, especially in hot and humid countries. When you're unwell you need to drink water to flush out the toxins, and your body won't get better nearly as fast if you're out of water. If you've being sick too, you're losing half of what you're drinking so keep swallowing it down knowing its helping. With this one though, you just want to make sure you follow local travel advice on drinkable water, as in a lot of countries around the world you can't drink the tap water. You can't even brush your teeth with the tap water in certain places (which is what may have made you sick in the first place...) and ice cubes are also out of the question! So down those rehydration sachets in your water so you can get back onto the road in no time!