Handling Sickness While Abroad

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Emily Facciolo
February 23, 2024

After weeks of trying to adjust to living abroad, with lots of traveling in between, it all finally caught up to me. IES Abroad planned a weekend trip to Cork (which was an amazing experience), and I woke up in the hotel finding out that I had absolutely no voice. This was not the result of any screaming, but instead just a very, very, sore throat among other things. As cool as it was kissing the Blarney Stone and seeing Spike Island, the combination of stomach aches, headaches, a sore throat, bad congestion, and what I thought could have been an ear infection, made it hard to appreciate some of the things we got to see. While in Cork, I was able to find something similar to Tums, as well as something that was supposed to help with congestion, which improved some of my issues, but it was still pretty bad. 

I thought not having a voice was funny, but I woke up the next day unable to eat or drink much because it hurt so bad. I tried to relax for the week when I wasn’t in class, which also included going to bed before 9:00 p.m., but I was still in pain by that Friday. I finally made an appointment at the medical center to see if they could help me. It was my first time ever going to a doctor outside of the U.S., so I was nervous because I was unsure of the etiquette of going to the doctor’s office. I was pretty miserable, so once I got my prescription I quickly paid and left to go to the pharmacy. When the pharmacist called a name that was not even remotely close to mine, we realized that the doctor gave me the wrong prescription, so I had to go back to the medical center and actually get the one with my name on it. Thankfully the pharmacist called the name, because otherwise I would have had no idea I was getting the wrong prescription. In hindsight, I obviously should have checked the name on the piece of paper, but I really just wanted to go back to bed so it was not even on my mind. But now I know that I should double check that my prescription actually has my name on it because that definitely could have been a huge mistake. 

After that whole mishap, I just stayed in bed the rest of the day and binge watched TV on Netflix. The next day, I did not leave the apartment at all. While it was pretty terrible not going out and exploring new parts of the city and instead just laying down for pretty much the entire day, it was extremely necessary. I felt as good as new with my (correct) medication just a day or two after. My biggest lesson to share is to always read the prescription, but also to just take time to rest. Being abroad for just one semester makes me feel that I should always be “go go go” every single day so I don’t miss out on anything, but I realized that staying home for one day probably prevented me from having to stay home for a much longer period of time, because I decided to listen to my body when I needed it the most. It’s likely that you will get sick at one point or another while being abroad, so just make sure to calm down for a few days because it will help way more than you might think. 

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Emily Facciolo

Hi! My name is Emily and I am currently a sophomore business major at the University of Pittsburgh, but I am from Delaware County, PA. Before going to Dublin, I have been to six other countries. My biggest passions are reading and traveling. 

2024 Spring
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