Thursday, September 15, 2016

Health Care Abroad

No one wants to imagine being sick or injured on vacation, but it could happen. Be prepared with a few simple precautions.

Learn About Your Destination
If you aren't familiar with the country you're visiting, check with the U.S. State Department's website before you go. You can find what type of medical services will be available to you once you're at your destination. Select your country and look for "Medical Facilities and Health Information." There should be a list of doctors and hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has destination specific health info as well. 

You may be able to ask the concierge at a hotel for English speaking physicians. 

Check Your Own Insurance
Before you travel, check out your health insurance provider to see what coverage, if any, you will have in the destinations you're visiting. Some insurance companies will not cover injuries or illness outside your home country, while others require that you pay for any treatment up front and then apply for reimbursement after you get home. You may need to purchase travel insurance.

Keep the Following Information With You 
Create a sheet with this info on it. Put a copy in your wallet, your carryon bag, and with your travel companion.
1. Your regular doctor's office, home and/or cell phone numbers in case you need a consultation while traveling
2. Any insurance company contact information in case you need to get approval for treatment (don't forget your insurance card)
3. Travel insurance company contact information, if applicable
4. Embassy contact info for countries in which you are traveling

Know Your Medications Names
Brand names may differ in different countries. Bring a list of your meds, including the scientific names. Knowing the generic/medical names of common medications is also helpful when you're hunting for over-the-counter remedies in a foreign country. Remember to bring enough of your prescription meds with you. 

These are some common brand names with their more common names.

 Advil/Motrin = ibuprofen
 Aleve = naproxen
 Tylenol/Excedrin = acetaminophen
 Bayer, others = aspirin
 Benadryl = diphenhydramine
 Dramamine = dimenhydrinate
 Bonine = meclizine
 Pepto-Bismol = bismuth subsalicylate
 Antacids = calcium carbonate, aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide
 Imodium = loperamide
Know Your Allergies
If you have serious allergies or a medical condition such as diabetes, be sure to ask your doctor about medical emergency bracelets.

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