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What to Do If You Get Sick While on Vacation in Istanbul

Getting sick when you're away from home can put a serious crimp in your vacation plans. It can be even worse when you're in a foreign city and don't know the language. Here are some tips for preventing travel sickness in the first place and for dealing with it if it does come up.

Preventing Travel Illnesses

You know the old saying: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." The best way to deal with travel illness is to keep it from happening in the first place.

One of the most common ailments travelers face is gastrointestinal upset. While many people are quick to assume this is due to contaminated drinking water, it can also simply be caused by a change in diet and your normal sleep schedule. Here are some tips to avoid tummy troubles while in Istanbul:

  • Ask about the quality of drinking water where you are lodging and dining.

  • If you are unsure about the safety of the water, opt for bottled water, which is easily available here.

  • Unless you know the water is safe, avoid foods washed in water, like salad greens, and eat only peeled fruits and vegetables.

  • Avoid hot foods that have been at room temperature for a long time.

  • Get enough rest and sleep while you are traveling.

Before leaving for your trip, consult your physician or travel medicine clinic to see if you need any inoculations and to make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date.

You can also inquire about a prescription for medications to treat common travel ailments and recommendations for over-the-counter products to take with you.

Make sure while you are away from home that you continue to take any regular medications.

Dealing with Sickness in Istanbul

If you do fall ill in Istanbul, you can relax knowing that there are many first-rate clinics and pharmacies in the city.

It helps if you are staying at a hotel that can assist you in dealing with your illness. At Hotel Büyük Keban, our concierge can easily connect you with a pharmacy, recommend a clinic, order transportation to a doctor's office or even locate a physician to see you at the hotel.

Before you leave home, be sure you know what your health insurance will cover when you're in a foreign country. Many private clinics and hospitals in Istanbul accept credit cards too.

If you start to feel ill, be sure to take any medications you have right away—don't wait to feel worse to start treatment.

If you experience gastrointestinal problems. try sticking with a plain diet for a few days. Rice and yogurt will be very helpful, and many frequent travelers to Turkey recommend Ayran, a popular Middle Eastern yogurt drink.

A few more tips:

  • Most antibiotics in Turkey are reasonably priced and don't require a prescription, so should you forget to bring some from home, they will be easily available to you.

  • Many pharmacists and physicians in Istanbul speak excellent English.

  • It's a good idea to have a phrase book that includes some basic medical terminology just in case.

  • If you are a single woman seeing a male physician, it's common to have a companion accompany you.

Hopefully, your stay in Istanbul will be a healthy one. Should you fall ill at the last minute on the way home, know that the departures terminal at the Ataturk International Airport has a 24-hour pharmacist on duty. You can access the pharmacy through the VIP lounge or your airline carrier's counter.

If you are disabled or have special medical needs, please contact us today and let us know what we can do to make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable!

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