Treating Injuries While Traveling

  Treating Injuries While Traveling

Injuries are no less common in foreign countries than they are in the U.S., where they rank as a major cause of illness and death among travelers. Follow these guidelines if you become injured.


  • Cuts longer than one inch in length or those which are gaping open must be closed to avoid scarring. To close these wounds safely, use steri-strips or tightly applied bandages.
  • Cuts involving the ears, nose, eyelids or lips require special attention from a physician.
  • Serious cuts should be sutured within 24 hours of injury (6 hours for facial cuts).
  • All scratches, abrasions and bites should be thoroughly cleaned with warm, soapy water to remove dirt and debris, followed by a thorough rinse with clean water.


  • Sprains and muscle injuries should be cold-packed during the first 24 to 48 hours to reduce pain and swelling. Heat may then be applied to the injured area to further reduce pain and speed healing.


  • Do not befriend strange animals or pets. If you are injured you should seek treatment for rabies prevention. 
  • Insect bites can be prevented by avoiding brightly colored clothing and wearing long-sleeved shirts and slacks after dusk. Hydrocortisone cream and/or antihistamines can relieve the associated itching, pain or swelling for most insect bites.