Health Precautions That Expats Should Not Ignore When Living Abroad
Moving to a new country comes with healthcare concerns. Expats, global nomads, and global citizens may encounter different health standards and difficulties in medical care in their host country. Other than taking proper health precautions, expats should also obtain a health insurance plan for a hassle-free trip.
The host country may have health and hygiene challenges that you are not used to in your own country. Such scenarios could cause major hassles and risks if expats do not have proper health insurance policies in place. Before jetting off to a new nation, we recommend expats to buy international health insurance that includes emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits.
Follow these five health tips, and you will minimize the risk of falling ill in foreign lands.
1. Be Up to Date on Vaccinations and Immunizations
Expats are vulnerable to diseases, especially so when they are abroad. But tropical climates pose dangerous threats to them. That is why global citizes should plan and get the necessary vaccinations before travelling. The right immunization or prophylactic medication can easily prevent illnesses like Hepatitis, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, and malaria. Expats can always refer to sites like CDC on the latest information on health and vaccinations.
2. Beware of Roadside Food Stalls and Unbottled Water Consumption
Cheap food sold at the roadside can be tempting and not always dirty, but in some countries, it is risky. If you are not familiar with certain foods, you may end up with food poisoning. Furthermore, always opt for bottled wanted or boiled water. To reduce plastic waste, carry your travel bottle. Not paying attention to these health precautions can cause health issues, especially minor gastrointestinal infections, to more severe diseases, such as cholera, typhoid, or Hepatitis. Expats must ensure they consume food and water from places that maintain cleanliness and hygiene.
Here are a few health precautions that you can take before enjoying a local snack or cuisine:
- Ensure you wash your hands before and after handling food
- Drink only bottled, boiled, or sanitized water
- Avoid eating uncooked and undercooked or raw seafood
3. Prepare for an Emergency
An emergency can arise at any moment, and preparation is key. Expats should be aware of how emergency medical services function in their host country. They should keep a note of all the important numbers and services that would come in hand at the time of an emergency. Keeping contact details of ambulance services, private hospitals, and even pharmacy helps at the time of a medical emergency. We have many resources on healthcare that you can take advantage of.
4. Public or Private Healthcare?
Though many countries offer free medical care to residents and expats, most expatriates prefer to visit private hospitals. It is due to high-quality medical treatments, English-speaking staff, and better medical infrastructure available in private medical facilities. Countries that focus on medical tourism offer excellent care and facilities to expats and global citizens. That being said, many countries have excellent public medical hospitals and clinics, but generally, these exist in more wealthy countries, such as Japan, the UK, and many more.
5. Buying Healthcare Insurance is a Must
It may be debatable if buying global health insurance is a precaution or not. However, having health coverage can enable access to preventative health, payment for medications, and much more. If you can before leaving your home country, global citizens need to ensure they have purchased adequate health insurance for themselves and their families. There is no knowing when one might get sick or injured in a foreign land, even after following heath precautions and care.
That is why buying a health insurance policy that covers all medical costs and treatment is essential. Expats need to make sure they purchase an international health insurance plan, one that includes emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits. While some may be well covered by their expat benefit plan, many being sent abroad have to secure global healthcare themselves or local coverage, and medical services may be substandard. For most retired expats, freelancers and digital nomads, getting a great expat health insurance is vital before they leave their home country.