Staying Healthy Abroad – Health Preparation Information for Expatriates
If you are planning to move abroad to a new country, you must focus on securing your health and that of your dependents. Maintaining your health is obviously quite important and it can be more challenging when you live abroad. We have put together this general guide to assist you in your healthy expat journey.
Even if you are in perfect health before you move overseas, we all know that anything can happen – an illness or an injury can strike when you least expect it. Remember that living in unfamiliar surroundings can be unsettling and can present you with increased risks of disease, illness, and injury.
Before You Become an Expat
Once you decide to move to a foreign land to start an expatriate life, you will have to take into account several factors to ensure that your relocation is smooth and hassle-free. Do you know how the healthcare system works in your chosen expat destination? If you haven’t yet found out, you should do detailed research to ensure that you face no problems as you settle in a completely new place which can be your second home. There is no doubt that an expatriate life can be very rewarding, but it all depends on how you manage to overcome various hurdles that you may face along the way.
Adequate healthcare facilities for you and your family matter a lot when you plan to move to a foreign land. You will also like to consider the healthcare standards and emergency services offered by a particular destination before you decide to settle there. The quality of medical facilities, waiting times, medical expenses and availability of adequate services for expats may vary in various countries. However, you will have to be sure about how you can adjust to a completely new health system of your destination. It is also important to understand that all the facilities that you would usually enjoy in your home country may not be easily accessible in a new place.
Staying Healthy While You’re Abroad
Even though moving to a new country can be very exciting, there are certain health risks attached to it. Here are some tips and resources that will help you lead a healthy life as an expatriate:
- During your stay abroad, there is a possibility that you may face some health issues that you may not have ever experienced before. So, doing in-depth research on the healthcare facilities available in your dream destination is important before relocating there. A reliable source to get the necessary information regarding an expat destination is the World Health Organization. Knowing the health hazards associated with a particular country can help you brace yourself for various unforeseen issues and emergencies.
- Apart from going for medical check-ups and doctor’s consultations during your relocation, you should take the necessary steps proactively to avoid falling ill. For instance, you may be required to take some vaccines before you move to a particular country. Vaccinations may not be obligatory in certain countries, but in most cases that is highly recommended.
- You may also face some respiratory problems in countries with an altogether different climate. Take all necessary precautions and medicines along with you in case you need them during your extended stay in a foreign country.
- Scan and save a soft copy of your medical history records when you embark on your journey as an expat. You may have to go change your glasses or get a dental job done during your stay abroad.
- If you take medicines regularly, keeping the stock handy with you in your new home abroad will spare you the inconvenience of running around at the eleventh hour. Also, find out what are the generic names of various medicines you take for like cold or cough in that new country. Most of these generic medicines are known by different names in different countries.
- Note that some countries restrict certain medications, especially pain meds. It is vital that you take a copy of your prescription with you and make sure all pills are in their marked prescription bottle. You may want to check with the local health and regulators before you go.
When You Arrive in your Expat Destination
Once you reach your expat destination, find the emergency number for that country as 911 may not be used. If you are not proficient in the local language, you should learn a few phrases that will help you speak basic conversation-starters with the local folks to just get by when you need emergency assistance. Make sure you have the number to call in case of an emergency. Learn about the nearest hospitals or healthcare facilities covered under your insurance policy for various treatments. Also, check out if you are eligible to access the local healthcare facilities. Don’t forget to do the necessary paperwork soon to ensure whether public care services are available for expats if your new destination.
Global Healthcare for Expats
Always think about your well-being before you pack your baggage to move to an expat country. You should have adequate health cover before you relocate to a new place to start a completely new life. Your new home country may not have all the facilities that you would expect from an expat haven, so planning and opting for good international health insurance is the best bet. By doing so, you can avoid a situation wherein getting medical assistance becomes very difficult.
If you are moving to a country in Europe, an EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) can come to your aid and cover various critical treatments for a limited period. Choose an international health insurance plan that suits your budget and needs. Many reputed insurance companies are offering various international health plans for expats. Go for one that can ensure the best possible healthcare arrangement when you need it the most.