If you are planning to live abroad, one of the most important things to consider is your health. Living in a new country can be exciting, but it can also be challenging to navigate a different healthcare system. You may also encounter new health risks that you are not used to dealing with in your home country.
It is essential to look after your health while living abroad. This includes researching the healthcare system in your new country and understanding what medical services are available to you. You should purchase medical evacuation insurance in case of a medical emergency.
Another important aspect of looking after your health while living abroad is taking care of your mental health. Moving to a new country can be stressful, and it is essential to manage your stress levels and maintain your mental wellbeing. This may include finding a support system, practicing self-care, and seeking professional help if needed.
There is a lot to plan when you first arrive in a place, so use the tips below to stay healthy while living abroad.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Living abroad can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle in a new environment. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy while living abroad.
Eating well is essential to maintaining good health. When living abroad, it can be tempting to indulge in local cuisine, but it’s important to maintain a balanced diet.
Try to incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet, and limit your intake of processed foods and sugary drinks.
One way to ensure you’re eating a healthy diet is to cook your meals at home. This can be a fun way to experiment with local ingredients and flavors. If you’re not sure where to start, try searching for local recipes online or taking a cooking class.
No matter whether you are living at home or overseas, it’s important to maintain an active life. There’s no need to make fitness goals for yourself or to train for a marathon; all you have to do is integrate some light exercise into your daily routine to raise your heart rate and use muscles.
Whether is a simple yoga practice in the morning or using a bike to get to and from your place of work, maintaining an active life will keep you healthy and happy during your time abroad. Remember, even light exercise releases endorphins and dopamine, making you feel happier.
Try to find a local gym or fitness center where you can work out. You could also try taking up a new sport or activity, such as hiking, swimming, or yoga. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, consider going for a walk or run in a local park or nature reserve.
Moving to a new country can be stressful, and it’s important to manage your stress levels. Try to relax and unwind, such as practicing mindfulness, meditation, or yoga.
It’s also important to stay connected with friends and family back home, as they can provide a source of support and comfort. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to seek help from a mental health professional or support group.
Many people underestimate the importance of proper hydration, especially when abroad, where the weather is often hotter. Our bodies are made predominantly of water, and water is used for many of our natural body functions and processes. It’s needed to make blood, for example.
In order to stay healthy, an average person needs to drink around 3.7 liters of water every day. This sounds like quite a lot of water, but in reality, it is only little water bottles every day. When you are living abroad, carry a water bottle with you everywhere you travel or stay.
Preventing Illness and Injury
Avoiding Common Health Risks
Living in a new country can expose you to different health risks than you are used to. To prevent illness, it is important to practice good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands regularly with soap and water, avoiding contact with sick people, and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
It is important to be aware of the food and water quality in the country you are living in. Avoid drinking tap water or consuming raw or undercooked foods, as they may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Stick to bottled water and well-cooked foods to reduce your risk of illness.
Vaccinations and immunizations
If you are planning to live abroad, it is important to check which vaccinations and immunizations are recommended or required for the country you will live in. Some countries require proof of certain vaccinations before you can enter, while others simply recommend them to protect against common illnesses.
Visit a travel health clinic or your primary care physician well before your departure date to get the vaccinations and immunizations. Keep in mind that some vaccinations require multiple doses over a period, so it is important to plan accordingly.
Staying Safe While Traveling
Traveling can increase your risk of injury or illness, especially if you are visiting unfamiliar or remote areas. To stay safe while traveling, it is important to take precautions before you leave. Research the area you will visit and be aware of any potential health or safety risks.
Pack any necessary medications or medical supplies, and consider purchasing travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses. It is important to prevent injury while traveling, such as wearing seatbelts in cars and helmets when riding bikes or taking part in adventure activities.
Seeking Medical Care
When living abroad, it’s important to know how to seek medical care when you need it. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process:
Living in another country is interesting and challenging, but it can also be hazardous, especially when you don’t know the language, and you encounter a serious medication condition. If you know you have a medical condition, or you have medication to take, bring some along with you.
Even when you don’t have a serious medical condition, there are some medications that you should always bring with you; these include diarrhea medication, antihistamines for the pollen count, motion sickness medication, cough drops, as well as aspirin, ibuprofen, and codeine.
Knowing When to Seek Medical Attention
It’s important to know when to seek medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention right away:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe bleeding
If you experience any other symptoms that are concerning to you, it’s better to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention.
Make sure you have a local dentist to visit when you are living overseas. A dentist will maintain the quality of your teeth to sustain the best quality of life overseas. If you need any dental work carried out or some invisible braces to align your teeth abroad, find a qualified local dentist.
Finding a Doctor or Hospital
When looking for a doctor or hospital, there are several resources you can use:
- Contact your embassy or consulate for a list of recommended doctors and hospitals.
- Ask for recommendations from locals or expats in the area.
- Check with your insurance provider to see if they have any recommended doctors or hospitals in the area.
Once you have a list of potential doctors or hospitals, do some research to find out more about them. Check their websites, read reviews, and ask for recommendations from others.
Navigating Language Barriers
One of the biggest challenges of seeking medical care abroad is navigating language barriers. Here are some tips to help you communicate effectively with your doctor:
- Learn some basic medical vocabulary in the local language.
- Bring a friend who speaks the local language with you to your appointment.
- Use a translation app on your phone to communicate with your doctor.
- Ask for an interpreter to be present during your appointment.
Remember, it’s important to be patient and understanding when communicating with your doctor. They may not be fluent in your language, and you may not be fluent in theirs, but with a little effort, you can still communicate effectively.
Living abroad can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it can also present challenges in looking after your health. By being proactive and taking steps to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing, you can make the most of your time abroad and enjoy all that your new home offers.
Remember to research the healthcare system in your host country and make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Stay up to date on vaccinations and seek medical attention promptly if you experience any symptoms or health concerns.
It’s also important to prioritize self-care and manage stress. This might include practicing mindfulness or meditation, staying physically active, or connecting with a support network of friends and family.
Finally, don’t forget to stay connected with loved ones back home. Maintaining these relationships can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity, which can be especially important when adjusting to a new culture and way of life.
With these tips and a proactive mindset, you can enjoy a healthy and fulfilling experience living abroad. Bon voyage!