Hints on healthy living in your expat paradise

Published:  21 Sep at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Whether you’re a retiree, an expat professional, a backpacker or just looking for a permanent change of scenery, it’s wise to look out for common illnesses and their causes in your chosen destination.

No-one expects to move to a new country and find themselves in an unfamiliar hospital being treated for a local bug, but it does happen and should be taken seriously. Private health insurance is the best option but, especially for those who can’t afford the ever-increasing annual premiums, prevention is always better than cure.

The first, very obvious but often ignored effect of a new, hotter environment is sunburn, usually regarded as a minor irritation but occasionally leading to familiarity with a foreign emergency room. It’s not just sunbathing that gets you, it’s gardening, sightseeing or even sitting in a bar in strong sun without the necessary protection.

If you’re planning on living fulltime in your new destination, regular health and dental check-ups are essential, even though finding a professional conversant with the English language might just be tricky. One surprising risk of moving to a tropical country is high heat combined with high humidity, which can cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other unpleasant symptoms. Dehydration is the symptom to watch for, before it brings on confusion, disorientation and even, in severe cases, seizures.

Expats moving into a brand new home overseas might well not be as safe and sound as they think, due to substandard or even non-existent building regulations. Dodgy electrical installations provide the worst scenario, and are common in many less than first-world countries worldwide, especially when combined with even dodgier plumbing in shower rooms.

Local bugs come in all shapes and sizes, with their effects varying from mild discomfort to life-threatening severity. Everyone’s aware that snakes, scorpions and poisonous spiders aren't humans’ best friends, but dengue fever in its extreme form can kill if not caught and treaded. Diarrhoea is common, but eating poorly cooked food can also lead to toxic shock syndrome, a very nasty, possibly fatal experience, and an uncovered raw place or cut can easily become infected with the dangerous Staph virus.

The best defence against all the above and much more is, quite simply, common sense and personal care, especially if you’re headed to the tropics. You should also remember that first-world medical treatments are only found either in the first world where you came from or, if you can find one, in horrendously expensive private hospitals which usually demand your credit card before they’ll even look at what ails you.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive