Getting an injury in any kind of normal circumstances isn’t fun. However, getting an injury while abroad can be truly scary. On top of having to deal with the injury yourself there could be added issues to contend with such:
- Not being able to speak the local language
- Not knowing the local emergency number
- Not being insured
- Not having access to adequate local medical services
This is why it’s important to prepare for the possibility of an injury. Hopefully, you won’t get injured – but just in case, it’s useful to know what to do and to be properly equipped.
What are the most common injuries when travelling
Common injuries that people experience while abroad include:
- Slip and fall injuries
- Animal bites and stings
- Strains and sprains from physical activities (like skiing or hiking)
- Road accident injuries
- Sunburn or even frostbite
How to prepare for the risk of injury
If you do get injured, it’s useful to have a first aid kit with you. Plasters, bandages, antiseptic creams, painkillers and anti-inflammatories are a few things to pack in your first aid kit. This should be kept in your hotel room, or taken with you in a backpack on days out.
It’s also worth knowing the local emergency number and keeping your phone on you at all times. If you’re travelling somewhere very remote, consider getting a satellite phone and looking into the contact number of services like mountain rescue (travelling with someone else is always advised in these situations so that one can help the other).
Another very important tip is to take out travel insurance. This may seem like an added unnecessary cost, but it could save you thousands on medical treatment if you do need to go to a hospital. Sites like Generali can help you find the lowest travel insurance prices. There are group insurance plans that you can take out to cover your entire family or a group of friends.
Finally, when travelling to a high risk malaria area, always take malaria tablets. A mosquito bite could be deadly if you haven’t taken this medication. This WHO website features maps to tell you which areas of the world are high risk.
How to avoid injuries when travelling
Ideally, you want to be able to avoid injuries altogether. This involves taking care of yourself when travelling.
Alcohol is a big cause of slip and fall injuries when abroad. Make sure that you know your limits and that you’re not getting yourself into a state where you can’t walk properly.
When it comes to animal bites and stings, be careful when exploring the wilderness or going out into the sea. If there are warning signs telling you not to swim somewhere or walk somewhere, pay attention to them. Mosquito repellant is always useful to have on you in rural areas.
Take caution around roads when abroad. Make sure that taxis have seatbelts and be careful when crossing roads (in some countries, zebra crossings and even red lights can get regularly ignored by drivers).
Make sure to wear appropriate clothing in countries with very cold climates and wear sunscreen in places that are very sunny. On a ski trip abroad, it may be beneficial to wrap up warm and wear sunscreen.