Getting Health Care Abroad
Travelers may get sick or injured without warning while traveling, and you should plan in advance how to get care when you’re overseas. This applies to all travelers but is especially important for senior citizens, pregnant women, people with preexisting conditions, or people who will be in a foreign country for a long time.
Find a Doctor
The US embassy in your destination country (http://www.usembassy.gov/) can help you locate medical services and will notify your family and friends in the event of an emergency. When selecting a doctor, make sure that he or she can speak your language. The following resources provide lists of doctors and clinics that can care for travelers:
- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (www.iamat.org; membership required, but it is free)
- Joint Commission International (www.jointcommissioninternational.org)
- The International Society of Travel Medicine (www.istm.org)
- Travel Health Online (www.tripprep.com; gets information from various sources so quality is not guaranteed)
Prepare in Advance
Nobody wants to get sick while on a trip, but you can do some simple things to make sure you’re prepared, just in case:
- Consider whether you might need travel health or evacuation insurance.
- Register with the US embassy in your destination country at https://step.state.gov/step/.
- Bring any medicines you may need (pack extra, in case of delays) from the United States. Medicines in other countries may be counterfeit.
- Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, any chronic illnesses you have, any medicines you are taking, and any allergies you have.
- Wear a MedicAlert bracelet if you have serious medical conditions.