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Getting sick in a foreign country

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It is not pleasant to be sick at anytime, even at home. But it is much worse when it happens away from home. When you are outside of your familiar territory, you are not near your doctors and your basic support system. Family members and friends may not be able to visit you or speak for you on your condition. The health care systems in foreign countries may be different from what you know at home. While it may be superior or inferior, just the fact that it is different may be an issue.

Before you travel[edit]

Before you leave your home country, it is necessary that you come up with a plan in case you come in need of medical attention abroad. Even if you are a seemingly healthy individual, you never know what may strike at any time without warning. For some people, the very conditions in a foreign country may be too much for one's body to handle.

  • Insurance: Contact your health insurance provider and ask if they will cover you while in a foreign country, and importantly, the specific one(s) where you plan to travel. If they do not, it is necessary to purchase a travel insurance policy that covers your care abroad. Be aware that in many countries, hospitals and doctors have the right to refuse to treat visitors without a guarantee of payment, even in a life-threatening situation.
  • Ask your doctor if travel is safe for you: For some individuals, travel far from home, even within one's own country, can be hazardous to one's health. There are many reasons for this. If in doubt, make an appointment with your physician. And even if you can, your physician may give you some advice to follow.
  • Get vaccinated if necessary: Find out what immunizations are recommended for the places where you plan to travel and ask your doctor at home or find a local clinic that offers them.

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