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What to do if you get sick after a trip

Sick After TravelMy wife and I just came back from our honeymoon in the Philippines. The trip was wonderful. Temperatures were in the 90s every single day and the sun was always out and bright. I have a wonderful tan that people would be jealous about. I got to go helmet diving, caving, cliff diving, watch my wife complete a half Ironman race in my hometown, go horseback riding, and see my family and friends. Oh, did I mention we almost invested in a house with a beach view? What more can you ask for after this very memorable trip?

One thing that I did not ask for was getting sick after returning home. A week later I was hit with a stomach virus that did not allow me to eat any solid foods for close to four days. If I did try, I would end up just vomiting it. That was the most miserable four days of my life. So what happened? To tell you the truth, my doctor could not really pinpoint what it was, but instructed me to take our traveler’s medication prescribed before leaving for our honeymoon and also to try to keep hydrated as best as possible.

Having great communication with my doctor was one of my priorities before leaving for a trip outside of the country. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed my trip and at the same time stayed healthy, so I went in and talked with the travel nurse about some precautions as well as some recommended vaccinations.

If you do get sick after coming back from a vacation outside of the country, you need to pay attention to a few things.

Common symptoms that do not warrant a trip to the doctor:

  • Head cold
  • Mild stomach upset

Symptoms that do need a trip to the doctor:

  • Fever – If you have been in a country with malaria and develop a fever within a month after your trip, see your doctor immediately.
  • Diarrhea – If you experience diarrhea that lasts for two weeks or more, you may need to be treated with special drugs to fight off a parasite causing the infection. Having persistent diarrhea can make you lose nutrients that your body needs.
  • Skin issues – Pay attention to any bug bites, rashes, or fungal infections on your skin. But if you have skin issues along with fever, make sure you see your doctor right away because that could be a sign of an illness.

Make sure you know the exact answers to some of these questions:

  • What did your activities consist of during your trip?
  • What was the length of your stay at this country?
  • What did you eat and drink?
  • Where did you stay?
  • Did you have contact with any animals?
  • Did you get bitten by a bug?