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Dealing With Illness While Abroad

An opinion piece by Taylor Sheehan

There’s scarcely a worse sensation than lying ill far from home, feeling as though you’re decaying in bed while your immune system valiantly combats an illness. Sooner or later, it can happen to anyone to fall sick. My experience? I’ve fallen sick three times while abroad, including during my birthday and the October break. However, these episodes have equipped me with insights that I hope will help you hasten your recovery.

Rest is Crucial
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to rest. It isn’t enjoyable watching your friends hang out while you have to stay in bed alone, but continuing to be active and going out will only worsen your symptoms. Getting as much sleep as possible is crucial, so I recommend going to bed early and taking frequent naps.


Hydration and Nutrition
While you’re convalescing, ensure you’re drinking plenty of water. For those grappling with a sore throat, warm tea can offer relief. It’s also wise to stick to light, digestible foods such as soup or crackers.

Pre-Travel Preparations
Before departing, I strongly recommend packing a basic pharmacy kit. Essentials should include Tylenol for fevers, Advil/Ibuprofen for pain or headaches, and remedies for the common cold. Carrying a thermometer might also save you a frantic search later on.

Seek Medical Advice Promptly
Do not underestimate the benefits of consulting a doctor. Initially, my tendency was to endure, but delay only exacerbated my conditions. Visiting a doctor, who promptly prescribed effective medication, made a world of difference. Hence, at the first signs of a persisting symptom, make an appointment—using tools like the Umbra app, or reaching out to Student Services can streamline this process.


Embracing the Temporary Nature of Illness
Being sick abroad can be tough, especially because you are so far away from home. However, your illness is only temporary, and by following these helpful tips, you will soon be back on your feet and out exploring Italy.

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