Illness or Injury Abroad

During your medical elective or travel abroad, you will encounter conditions you have not seen during your training. Take the time to find out more about the infectious diseases in the country you are visiting.   The SOM has specific guidance.

Register your travel before at the UC TRIPS site to trigger your UC Student Off-Campus Travel Accident Benefit and travel alerts.

In an emergency- contact UC's travel insurance company using the insurance cards sent when you registered your travel. They have MD’s online 24/7 and can facilitate local interventions as well as having a person onsite if that is needed. When care has been initiated, contact your UCSF contacts, Risk Management, and Occupational Health with questions.

If you are traveling on UCSF business and become ill or injured (including blood borne pathogen exposure), or have symptoms of communicable disease, contact Occupational Health Services. The UCSF needlestick hotline is available for advice, but a call back system. You will have to have someone call in for you locally, so they can be called back. (415) 719-3898. 

Hand Hygiene

Because you do not have partial immunity to local pathogens, it is essential for you follow more rigid preventative measures to decrease your risks.  Hand hygiene is the most important activity.  Clean your hands with soap or alcohol 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.  Review the UCSF Standard and Transmission Based Precautions  if you will be working or caring for patients. It contains important information on personal protective equipment (PPE), needles and sharps, solid waste, reusing equipment such as masks, blood spills, and exposures.      

Common Travel Illnesses

Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common health problem to affect travelers. Approximately 80% is bacterial, from contaminated food or water. Prevention is key (see food and water precautions). If contracted, taking prophylactic bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) is helpful.  Stay well-hydrated.

Last updated: November 20, 2018