Health Risks to Consider When Moving to a New Country

Moving abroad is a journey full of excitement and new opportunities. You’ll experience growth in ways you never thought possible and get to experience so much more. However, amidst all the anticipation and chaos of the move, it’s important to stop and think about a very important and overlooked aspect – your health.

With so much to plan and prepare, it’s easy to neglect the consideration of the potential health risks that could arise with a move to a new and unfamiliar country. Every destination has its own unique challenges to be planned for – here are some risks that should be on your radar.

Variances in the Healthcare System

First of all, it’s crucial to do your research on what the healthcare system in your destination country is like. Find out about public versus private healthcare, which options are available to foreigners, where the local doctors and hospitals are located, etc.

As an ex-pat, it’s usually best to invest in international medical insurance, as well as a medical evacuation plan. These plans will cover you fully no matter where you are in the world and will make accessing good quality private healthcare easy and stress-free. The peace of mind this will offer you in a foreign country cannot be undervalued.

Cultural and Environmental Factors

You also need to consider that a new climate and other environmental conditions can have a significant impact on your health. Weather-related challenges – like excessive heat or cold – can impact both physical and mental health, and you might also need to think about air quality in certain countries.

Certain kinds of diseases are also more of a concern in specific parts of the world, and you need to be aware of any vector-borne diseases that might be prevalent in your new region.

Some quick and simple research online will have you fully prepared for anything you need to know, and you’ll be able to take the necessary precautions once you move.

Immunization and Vaccination Requirements

It’s important that you ensure you’re up to date on all your vaccinations before traveling anywhere for any reason.

However, keep in mind that certain countries will have specific vaccination and immunization requirements for you to be eligible to enter the country. Do your research on this, and make sure you get any required shots at least one month before you’re due to travel. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about any concerns you might have before you leave, and find a new doctor in your new country as soon as possible to discuss any local health regulations and concerns.

Food and Water Safety

In some places in the world, you will need to be more aware of food and water safety and consider potential health risks when it comes to eating and drinking.

Research any water sanitation issues in your destination country and gain an understanding of different food handling practices. You might want to avoid drinking tap water and be extra careful when eating out in certain regions. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself or need to be concerned about everything you eat – only that you should be aware of risks and ensure that food safety practices are always considered.

Mental Health Considerations

Moving abroad is exciting, but it’s also a tough journey. Many people struggle to walk away from everything that is familiar to them and might deal with homesickness, regret, loneliness, fear, and other difficult emotions once they’ve left home. Your mental health is a crucial aspect of your overall health and shouldn’t be neglected!

If you feel like you’re struggling, don’t think that you need to put on a brave face. Talk about how you’re feeling and reach out for professional help if you need it. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have suffered severe trauma to benefit from therapy. Seeing a psychologist can help you cope with the move and simply adjust to everyday life and challenges in your new environment.

Access to Medication

Finally, if you take any chronic medication, this is an important thing to consider and plan before you make the big move.

Do some research and try to find out if your medication will be easily accessible to you in your new country. If not, you will need to stock up and bring it over with you when you move, and either import it when you need a restock or travel to your home country to refill your prescription. Another thing to think about here is restrictions and regulations – certain countries might have restrictions on which types of drugs can be brought into the country, so make sure you will be able to access your meds when you’re there.