“Getting sick while on a dive foreign vacation—what to do?
Nobody plans to get ill on a dive trip, but the fact is it can happen. It will be less likely and less traumatic if you are careful and prepared.
Of course, the 1st step is don’t get sick, so here’s some effective preventative steps you can take: (1) Stay as far away as possible from others who appears sick (e.g., folks who are coughing, sneezing). Wash your hands frequently while traveling and keep them away from you nose, mouth and eyes; (2) In the developing world, be prudent about drinking water from the tap. Stick to bottled drinks, especially water, and make that ice you use also comes from distilled or bottled water Also, avoid unshelled fruits & vegetables. Stick to fruits with hard shells and avoid berries. If you chance it with leafy greens, they should be very well washed with clean water; (3) If you are in an area with insects, wear long sleeves and pants, avoiding dark or bright colors, especially at dawn and dusk. Try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk when many flying insects are most active. When making reservations, make sure the resort has screened windows. Wear a proven insect repellent such as full strength DEET or a picaridin-based repellant containing at least a 15% concentration. And, avoid scented toiletries and perfumes; and (4) Get necessary vaccines before departure. You can check with your PCP, but it’s very likely s/he will not be travel medicine savvy. Alternatively, locate a travel medicine speSPAM -- ignoret through ASTMH/ACCTMTH directory ( http://www.astmh.org/source/ClinicalDirectory/
) or my favorite little known gem, Passport Health ( http://www.passporthealthusa.com/locations/
), to find out what’s currently being recommended for a destination(s).
You’ll also want to verify that your health insurance provider covers medical expenses abroad as lots don’t. Familiarize yourself with the details of your medical coverage, and especially with the process for documenting a claim (even DAN can be a problem if you don’t carefully follow the rules). If your carrier does not cover you overseas, consider purchasing traveler’s insurance. The article “How to Buy Good Travel Insurance” by Nomadic Matt will get you well oriented ( http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/travel-insurance/
). And there’s also the DAN Travel Plan (https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/trip/
). In addition, it’s prudent to secure an IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers) membership ( http://www.iamat.org/
). It’s free and the organization maintains a network of approved health professionals throughout the world who offer services to travelers at a fixed rate.
If you do end up sick, promptly head to a designated medical facility per your insurance coverage or IAMAT recommendations. You can also call the local embassy or consulate thru 00 1 202-501-4444 or visit the websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions ( http://www.usembassy.gov/
) for the names of recommended local medical providers.
Stay healthy and know before you go.