There is nothing worse than falling ill, especially if it happens when you are travelling in a foreign country. What do you do?
In 2009 my girlfriend and I were in a remote-ish part of Costa Rica when I became violently ill after eating at a beachside open air restaurant. I remember soaking up the sun, enjoying all the company, eating really yummy chicken, and loving the relaxing vibe ... until just hours later, when I could not stop vomiting.
We were staying in a hut-like abode that did have a bathroom, however it was rustic in nature. The nearest hospital was two hours north, we did not have a car, everything was closed, and it was the middle of the night. Fortunately my friend was also a physician.
Traveling in a country where medical facilities are similar to the United States is relatively easy. You can ask the front desk of your hotel, the police, at a pharmacy, the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, or someone on the street, for the nearest clinic or hospital.
If your symptoms are more mildly annoying than serious, you or someone you are traveling with may be able to head to a pharmacy. You can find what you need for a cold, sore throat, minor diarrhea, upset stomach, heart burn, blisters, allergies or headache.
There are urgent care or same-day clinics in other countries just like here at home, and while you may have to pay cash, those who purchase insurance or have health insurance that covers international travel may be able to submit for reimbursement. Remember to check your insurance plan before you leave.
When it comes to language, you do not have to be even remotely fluent to explain most details like location and pain. Explaining medication allergies may be difficult, however many are similar enough to our American versions that you can read the label and determine if it is something you can take or have taken before.
To be extra prepared, consider printing out your allergies in the language of the country you are visiting and have it on hand just in case you need to hand it to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.