Illness or Injury Abroad

During your medical elective or travel abroad, you will encounter diseases you have never seen during your training that are commonplace abroad. Take the time to find out more about the infectious diseases in the country you are visiting. See The Elective Pack: A Medical Student’s Guide to Essential International Health and Development.  

Visit UC Trip Planner to find information and travel tips specific to the country or region you will be visiting.  Register your travel before you leave at the UC TRIPS site to trigger your UC Student Off-Campus Travel Accident Benefit and iJet travel alerts. Print and carry your ACE insurance card with you at ALL times during travel.

  • UC Travel Accident insurance provides evacuation assistance or medical support during political turmoil or medical emergency
  • The system provides iJet alerts regarding political, medical, or logistical situations in real time via email or text.
UC business travelers who become ill or who are injured (including blood borne pathogen exposure), or have symptoms should contact the service via the numbers provided at registration. They have contacts available 24/7, can refer you to the BEST care in your area, and can facilitate local interventions as well as having a person onsite if that is needed. When care has been initiated, contact your supervisor or departmental manager as soon as possible so that they are aware of the situation and can help out as needed.

Hand Hygiene

Because you do not have partial immunity to local pathogens, it is essential for you follow preventative measures to decrease your risk of getting ill.  Hand hygiene is the most important activity to prevent transmission. Clean your hands with soap or alcohol‐based hand rub before and after routine patient care activities and after hand contaminating activities. Always clean hands after removing gloves.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Use PPE (i.e., gowns, gloves, masks, eye protection) to reduce the risk of exposures to bloodborne pathogens.   Gloves are worn: 1) To provide a protective barrier and to prevent contamination of the hands. 2) For anticipated contact with mucous membranes and non‐intact skin. 3) For invasive procedures.

UC supervisors are required to ensure access to appropriate PPE, regardless of location. UC policy on PPE

Common Travel Illnesses

Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common health problem to affect travelers. Approximately 80% is bacterial,  typically acquired from contaminated food or water. Prevention is key (see food and water precautions). If contracted, taking prophylactic bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) is helpful, and we recommend 2 tablets 4 times a day unless you are taking Doxycycline. If prevention doesn’t work, and you find yourself suffering, seek medical attentions and stay well‐hydrated.

Last updated: October 27, 2014