How to Obtain Medical Advice While Traveling

For some travelers, seeking out medical help in a foreign country can be a daunting challenge. Depending on where the individual is headed, their knowledge of their destination country and language, and many other factors, medical assistance can be extremely difficult to secure for a traveler who is out of his or her comfort zone. National governments try to help protect their citizens while they travel abroad, but in many cases, it's up to the individual traveler to know what to do if a medical emergency strikes. Some common tips will help those who need to obtain medical advice while traveling.


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    Ask guides or travel agents. If the trip has been set up by experienced professionals, these individuals may be able to help in a medical emergency scenario.
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    Consult travel insurance. If the traveler has taken out comprehensive travel insurance, this policy could help them realize much lower costs in their destination country. Reading the policy carefully can help the individual traveler understand why they may be liable for, and how to work with a foreign health system.
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    Find transportation. Each country has its own system of public transportation, and knowing about options may be critical to getting to a medical office in that country.
    • Observe the usual rules for planning for medical emergencies. No matter what country a person is in, it's important to stay close to populated areas for the best chance of getting medical advice in an emergency situation. Travelers are advised not to go into wilderness areas or other remote places without a plan for addressing medical emergencies.
    • Know the local transportation grid. Getting timely medical attention may include knowing how to find the best times for travel to a medical center. Having key knowledge about trains, buses or local transport can help a traveler to get through a maze of traffic and access good medical advice quickly.
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    Find out about the national health system. Some countries have national health systems that are funded and administrated by the government, and others have more of a focus on private health care setups. Knowing how medical treatment works in the destination country will help the traveler figure out how to get access to local medical advice.
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    Find a translator if necessary. One of the biggest challenges to getting treated medically in any foreign country is often the language barrier. Travelers should know where translation resources are and how to get an interpreter or day translator for a medical emergency.


  • Call an embassy. Citizens of some countries can call their national embassy in their destination country if they need help with medical situations. The embassy may be limited in their immediate ability to come to the aid of a citizen, but they can often provide key resources and advice for getting access to doctors and medical care abroad.

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Categories: Travel Health