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How to Handle Sickness Abroad: Tips for Flight Attendants

By Dean Burgess

If you work as a flight attendant, the last thing you want is to get sick when you’re far from home. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to avoid. The nature of your work exposes you to countless people every day, some of which may be harboring contagious illnesses. What’s more, staying in foreign countries will put you at risk of common travel bugs from COVID-19 to cholera. Illness can come from contaminated food and water, insect bites, animals, or other people. Being prepared for illness is essential for ensuring a speedy recovery! Here are some tips from Airside Int. to help you stay healthy when you’re on the road.

Be Proactive About Your Health

The best way to avoid illnesses while traveling is to be proactive about your health. Work to keep your body healthy by getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and exercising regularly. While this can be tough to do when you work as a flight attendant, there are many tricks out there to make healthy living easier. For example, book accommodations with fitness facilities so you can work out when you get to your hotel. Drink water frequently throughout your shift so you can avoid dehydration. You may also want to try a few hacks to beat jet lag and get a good night’s sleep when you need to spend a few nights abroad.

Save Your Medical Records on Your Phone

If you do get sick, having your medical records on hand will help you get the treatment you need as quickly as possible. Save your medical records as PDFs on your phone so they’re always available at your fingertips. You can store insurance information this way as well. PDFs are ideal because they will always display the same way regardless of the device you’re using. Once you create your PDF, you can download it to an iPad to ensure you never have to rely on wi-fi coverage to have access to your important health information.

Pack a Travel Health Kit

A travel health kit is another great thing to keep with you when you fly. Fit For Travel suggests bringing basic first aid supplies like gauze, aloe vera, a thermometer, antiseptic, anti-histamines, painkillers, and medication to manage travellers’ diarhhoea. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may also want to pack water purification solutions, supplies to help you avoid insect bites and sun protection.

Purchase Travel Insurance

Not only is travel insurance great for your peace of mind, but it can save you from some significant costs should a serious illness come up when you’re far from home. Travel insurance will cover emergency medical expenses as well as the cost of getting you home. And if your illness results in disruptions to your travel or accommodation, your insurance will cover this too. For flight attendants who travel abroad frequently, MoneyHelper.org suggests annual or multi-trip insurance as the most cost-effective option.

Find a British Embassy

British embassies offer support for nationals when traveling abroad. The British embassy can provide you with a list of local healthcare providers and medical facilities where you can seek treatment. If you come down with a serious illness, the embassy can help you inform your family and friends of your condition and assist with the transfer of funds from back home so you can pay for your treatment. The embassy can even contact your family doctor in the UK to facilitate a discussion about your care with your local attending physician.

Getting sick when you’re traveling is not fun at all. Take care of yourself so you can reduce your risk of illness, keep your medical records with you at all times, pack a travel health kit, purchase travel insurance, and make sure you know how to contact your nearest British embassy. By taking these precautions, you’ll be prepared for any illness thrown your way.