Tips for Staying Healthy When Living Abroad
By Chiranth Nataraj
Summary: Advice for staying healthy while living abroad and being prepared for medical emergencies.
Living abroad provides enormous opportunities for learning and trying out new things. When you are preparing for a move abroad, there are several things that travelers can do to reduce their risk of falling ill while they are traveling. By preparing yourself for a healthy move, you'll be able to take in everything that your new home has to offer and reduce preventable illnesses and injuries.
Before you move, it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the area that you'll be moving to. Find out what kinds of vaccinations are required and which ones are recommended. Talk with your doctor if you are unsure, as they can advise you on which precautions to take. Take into consideration your future living conditions as well, since not all countries have advanced plumbing and sewage treatment programs which can make you more susceptible to disease. Discuss your options with your doctor for both yourself and the rest of your family.
To make sure you are covered by medical insurance in case of emergencies, check into short term travel insurance plan for coverage. Since many traditional health insurance plans won't cover you when you are living abroad, it's important to make sure you have an alternate form of coverage. Plans can be purchased online, with instant and easy access to ID cards and benefits information.
Prepare a medical kit packed with any prescriptions, over the counter remedies, and other important health items. Be sure to include your emergency contact information, including your doctor's name and phone number and copies of prescriptions. It's also helpful to include a copy of your insurance card and the company's customer service phone number, in case of emergencies.
Take hard copies of all emergency contact information, including the number for your embassy office in your new home country. These offices can provide valuable assistance for American citizens who become seriously ill or injured when living abroad, and can also help out with any questions you may have about settling into your home country.
When you are living abroad, take extra precautions to keep yourself healthy. Eat well, exercise regularly and stay away from tainted water sources and contaminated foods. Most travel insurance plans include 24-hour a day assistance with finding a doctor or hospital in case of illness or emergency. This can be extremely valuable in areas where high quality medical care can be difficult to find. Be sure to select a plan that includes medical evacuations, as this service can cost thousands of dollars for those who don't have insurance.
If you plan ahead and take the time to make sure you are healthy, and maintain your health with good habits while you are living abroad, you can get the most out of your new home without having to worry about preventable illness or injury. Get the recommended immunizations, and make sure to have all necessary prescriptions filled before you leave. By taking the proper steps to stay healthy, you won't have anything to worry about when living abroad.
About the Author
Chiranth Nataraj is the President & CEO of International Services, Inc. a brokerage specializing in Expatriate health insurance and short term health insurance for travelers and expats. He is a licensed insurance professional and enjoys writing about health, travel and insurance.
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First Published: Dec 31, 2010