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Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Traveling Safely: Guidelines For What To Do At Your Destination In The United States


Once you've arrived at your destination, stay alert with respect to the use of your drugs, the food you eat, water, and when doing activities such as swimming.

Keep To Your Medication Schedule

  • Stick to any changes you and your doctor made to accommodate changes in time zones.
  • If any of your medications need to be refrigerated or otherwise need special handling, follow the rules. It may be more difficult while traveling, but we're talking about your health. The rules don't change just because you're in another location.
  • For information to help take your medications on schedule, click here.

Avoid Unnecessary Food Problems

  • Stomach problems should be avoided from the very beginning of your trip. Stick as close as possible to your normal diet, and follow food safety guidelines.
  • Street corner vendors may have food that looks and smells great, but hygiene may not be the best so it's safer to avoid them.
  • If there is a question whether a particular restaurant is hygienic and clean, there is an old traveler's rule of thumb:take a look at the rest rooms.If the customers' rest rooms are dirty, the employees' rest rooms are probably dirtier. Need we mention the out-of-sight kitchen?
  • For information about eating out safely, click here

Do What You Can To Prevent Diarrhea Pro-Actively

  • University of Texas studies have shown that a dose of preemptive Pepto-Bismol may be an effective protection against diarrhea during a trip.
  • If you do fall prey to Travelers' Diarrhea (also known in some areas as Turista):
    • Re-hydrate yourself. Drink fluids to restore your body's water.
    • Avoid dairy products and anything containing questionable water.
    • Most instances of Travelers' Diarrhea take care of themselves in a few days, but don't hesitate to consult a physician if the diarrhea is severe, bloody, is accompanied by chills or fever, does not go away in a few days, or if you can't keep-up fluid intake.

Take Precautions Before Swimming   If you plan to swim:

  • Be aware that pollution problems may lead to infection.
  • A properly chlorinated pool is your safest choice.
  • Check local divers to see if you should wear shoes as protection against stinging or biting fish or coral.
  • Wear shoes on possibly infected soil.

In Case You Become Ill while Traveling

  • Contact your doctor at home to let him or her know what is happening and to ask for advice. If the situation is an emergency, do not wait for a response before seeking treatment.
  • To locate a doctor
    • Hopefully your doctor provided the name of a doctor to contact.
    • If not::
      • The hotel manager may have the name of a reputable local doctor.
      • Most major credit card companies offer a referral service that can direct you to a doctor in an emergency. American Express offers this service to all its customers, MasterCard and Visa only to their Gold-card members.
      • HotelDocs ( offsite link, tel. 800.468.3537) offers a 24-hour medical referral service and can get a doctor to your hotel room, usually within an hour, in over 250 cities in the US. The standard fee is $150, not including medications. The fee is covered by most insurance companies. Check your coverage in advance.
      • TravelMed ( offsite link, tel. 800.878.3627) provides hotel house call service in 826 cities in 82 foreign countries.
  • When you see a doctor
    • Ask that a copy of your medical records be sent to your primary care physician. Obtain contact information, including the name of the appropriate person with whom to speak in the doctor's office, telephone and e-mail address, so you can follow up in case your primary care physician doesn't receive the report.
  • If you go into a hospital
    • When leaving a hospital, make sure to get::
      • A copy of all billing
      • A copy of your chart which includes a description of the condition for which you were treated, the treatment and your response.
      • A letter from the attending physician explaining your need for treatment.
      • If you cannot obtain these documents immediately, ask that they be mailed to you at the earliest opportunity so that you have all documentation necessary for reimbursement and, more importantly, to inform your doctor of your treatment. Get the hospital's telephone number, fax number and a contact name to follow-up if necessary.
    • If you have questions about medical treatment, don't hesitate to call or e-mail your doctor back home for an opinion.

NOTE: To get around, check your smart phone for an app that can summon a for-hire private car. For instance, Uber, Curb and Flywheel.  If the location has a subway or bus system, check, Hopstop and Google

If you are traveling outside of the United States, see ravel Outside The United States

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