What To Do When You Are Sick Abroad

Sammi Bilitz
April 15, 2022
Easy to find remedies

Colds are a universal experience, and no matter how far you travel, you can’t escape the sniffles.

I know as a planet we have spent the last two years learning about how not to get sick and mandating the proper protocols for when you start feeling under the weather, but it is always good to check in with yourself. Am I feeling the best today? Is this a headache because I am tired or because I am coming down with something?

Personally, I chronically get sick when I go new places. I am thrown into a new situation with new germs and much like a child starting a new daycare, I inevitably catch something. Thankfully, I am practiced in the art of being sick and getting better.

First thing’s first, do try to avoid any situation where you think you could get sick. Mask up on public transport and use hand sanitizer regularly. I especially recommend washing your hands as soon as you get back to your room to avoid spreading any “outside germs” in the house. This is obvious advice that everyone knows in a post-COVID world.

When you are feeling sick, give your body the proper time it needs to start feeling better. There can be a sort of pressure when abroad to see as much as possible as fast as possible. While that is an admirable goal, it is not the smartest. If you are constantly go, go, go, your body is going to make you stop, stop, stop. Better to really schedule some rest to feel better than it is to be forced to take some sick days.

Speaking of sick days, do not be afraid to take them. Do not show up to classes sick, no one thinks that is a good idea, least of all your teachers. If you’re feeling poorly, shoot an email to your center administrator and your instructor and they will encourage you to take the time you need to feel better. Every reading and assignment is online and if you need extra help, all the IES Abroad staff is super supportive, and I know they would be happy to send you anything you’ll need so you don’t fall behind.

If you are still feeling down after a day of rest, or an accident happens, it is very easy to get a doctor’s appointment or find medicine at a local pharmacy. Again, contact your student affairs person at IES Abroad and they’ll help you get in touch with a doctor. At the pharmacy, the medicine may look different from the U.S., but if you ask someone, they’ll help you out right away. Being sick does not have to be scary and you do not have to do it alone.

I personally recommend prioritizing good sleep above all else and drinking lots of water. As I mentioned above, study abroad is very fast-paced and sometimes hopping from tour to tour or café to café drinking coffee or going to pubs eventually takes a toll. Listen to your body and make sure you schedule time for your health, you will thank yourself in the long run.

Sammi Bilitz

<p>Sammi Bilitz is a junior at Indiana University enrolled in the Writer's Program in Dublin, Ireland. She is studying journalism and international studies and is so excited to explore what Ireland has to offer. In her free time, you can find her huddled up in some bookstore with a steaming cup of tea in hand.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Indiana University
Zionsville, IN
International Studies
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