Medical Issues When Traveling
Better pray your colitis doesn’t act up when you’re traveling abroad, especially in a village where people on dirt roads are leading donkeys carrying supplies. Even if you’re free of any conditions, what if you get injured?
An article on flygirl.jezebel.com explains how to handle medical needs while overseas.
- Find out what your medical insurance covers while traveling abroad—before you even book the flight.
- If your current plan doesn’t cover much overseas, then you’ll need to purchase travel insurance, even if the country you plan on visiting has free universal healthcare. There are potential supplemental costs that free universal healthcare will not cover for you.
- Do not wait till you’re in a foreign land and need medical treatment to buy traveler’s insurance.
- Prior to embarking, make a list of doctors in your destination country who speak English. The country’s local embassy or consulate will have this information, which is also online.
- Learn about hospitals that are in the area you will be staying at. For instance, are you traveling with your grandmother who’s at risk for a stroke? There might be a stroke center in the same city where you’ll be staying—assuming it’s a high end, very developed location in a technical society, but don’t hope for a stroke center near a village of dirt roads and rivers where people fish out of canoes for dinner.
Specific Medical Concerns
- If you plan on staying in the foreign land for an extended period, you can have friends get prescriptions filled and mail them to you unless you’re in a well-developed city such as Paris.
- If you get prescription meds while in a less-developed city, beware that they may be counterfeit, since their regulations aren’t as strict as they are for developed countries.
- The article notes that it’s possible to be given just a sugar pill or the wrong medication when you see a doctor in a foreign land.
- The Bureau of Consular Affairs provides drug warnings for specific countries. So you may want to pack a medication bag in your suitcase for conditions you’re prone to.
- In a foreign country it’s better to get a prescription filled at a hospital pharmacy than at a little drugstore.
- Finally, if you’re at risk of a near-future medical emergency, see if you can hold off on traveling until the potential crisis passes. For example, if you’re eight months pregnant, you don’t want to suddenly go into labor while 35,000 feet in the air.