Travel Tips

How to Deal With Medical Care Abroad

One concern many people have when leaving for their travels is whether they’re safe abroad. You may be concerned about your health insurance, you may be concerned about deseases abroad, you may be concerned with getting sick to your stomach from food. Well, here’s our list of things to do about Medical Care Abroad, we include things to think about before you leave and while traveling.

  1. Buy yourself trip insurance.  You can use www.squaremouth.com to compare your options.
  2. Bring medicine with you, if you can.  I have a travel emergency kit I swear by that includes – an antibiotic, malaria pills, anti-diarrhea pills, Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin, Dayquil, Nyquil, a strong pain-killer (just in case), and a small first aid kit with band aids, cleansing wipes, etc.  Now if you know yourself, there may be other frequents you’d like to add – I would advise making a list and heading to the drug store.
  3. Know where your insurance is accepted in the countries you are visiting and keep the information handy (you can usually locate this online, or you may have to phone the number provided by the insurance company)
  4. If you have not purchased any insurance, search online to find the most reputable hospital in the area.  There is usually one that is designed for expats/westerners and will be best for your situation.
  5. Insurance aside, the truth is most medical care outside of the US & Europe is quite affordable.  For instance I went to the hospital in Beijing when feeling ill and had blood work done, the cost was $150.  Or my visit to the dermatologist in South Africa after having an allergic skin reaction was $60.  Let me tell you, both visits were clean, professional and near mirror images of the care I would receive in the States (only for a fraction of the price).
  6. If you need medicine that you did not bring, check with the local pharmacy near your hotel often times the country you are visiting will provide it over the counter.  The medicine in every country is different in addition to the regulations – so I’ve had an easy time getting many things I would not have been able to without a doctor’s script in the States. Try to look up the generic name for the drug you need in advance as the name may be different in other countries.
  7. Be aware of the diseases in the region you are visiting, they may mimic symptoms of a common cold or flu.  Pay attention to your body and if you think something is off and you will not be home for a while, seek medical attention, it will not break the bank.

If language could be a barrier, be sure to bring a good translation app or dictionary with you.  You can explain some of what is going on with charades, but will be more effective if you can communicate with the doctor through words and translations in most cases.

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