How to handle health concerns when moving abroad

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Despite your best efforts to plan for everything, relocation can sometimes go wrong. Injuring yourself is all too easy when you’re carrying heavy boxes and the stress of international relocation can affect your immune system thus making you more susceptible to illness. All of this could lead to you having to figure out ways to handle health concerns when moving abroad. It is very important, therefore, to be prepared for any potential health issues in advance. Your health is extremely important. It is not something you should leave to chance. So include some thinking about dealing with health issues in your relocation planning. Better yet, find ways to avoid health issues during a move.

Be mindful of the most common health concerns when moving abroad

It’s true – anything can happen. But not everything is equally likely to happen. There are certain types of health issues that you are more likely to encounter when moving because they are more common during this period. It is those concerns that you should prepare to deal with.

Woman lifting a box.
Lifting heavy boxes is an easy way to get injured.

Physical injuries

One of the most common health concerns during relocation (international, long-distance or even just local) are physical injuries. A lot of people don’t know how to lift heavy things properly. As a consequence, many end up with injuries like pulled muscles, bruised tissues, twisted joints or even broken bones. The best way to avoid such injuries is to hire global international movers and let them deal with the majority of work surrounding your relocation. If you do want to pack yourself, make sure you dress appropriately (in comfortable clothes that aren’t too loose-fitting), learn the proper lifting techniques, get help for the heaviest items and step carefully.

Mental health issues

A big problem for anyone moving from USA to Europe or anywhere else very far away is culture shock. Suddenly finding yourself in a completely new country with a completely different culture, unfamiliar customs and even an unknown language can take quite a toll on you. This will only compound on the stress of the relocation, the post-relocation depression and the loneliness of not knowing anyone in your new home country. These issues should be taken seriously. Researching can help you prepare and diminish the culture shock. But it won’t eliminate all mental health concerns completely. Consider getting a therapist if you can’t deal with them yourself.

Common illnesses

The mental and physical stress of relocation can take a toll on your body. Combined with the huge change in the environment, this makes you more likely to catch common diseases. So be ready for a typical cold or something similar as well. Research if there have been any outbreaks of common diseases where you’re going. If you’re moving from USA to Australia, for example, make sure to check whether it’s flu season there. Remember – it’s winter in Australia when it’s summer in the US.

Person sick in bed.
Exhaustion and the common cold will take you out during a move.

Prepare for dealing with health concerns when moving abroad

Even if you are very healthy overall and do everything you can to stay that way, you can never really know how things will shakeup. So it’s best to be prepared for dealing with potential health issues just in case.

Know your medical history

Knowing yourself, your body, how it reacts to different things and what kind of illnesses you’re predisposed to is very important even when you’re not moving. If you have a chronic condition, for example, you’ll want to check whether that makes you more susceptible to any illnesses you might be exposed to during relocation. You should also refill any prescriptions you take so you’ll have your meds during and immediately after the move. Knowing your medical history will tell you what you can expect to face during the move.

See a doctor for a check-up before the move

Ideally, you should get a full physical examination before moving to another country. This is your chance to find out how healthy you are and address any potential issues if you can before undertaking as big of a feat as moving abroad. If you cannot get a full physical, at least visit your GP for a check-up.

Be up-to-date on your vaccines

Vaccines help build your immunity and fight off diseases. Moreover, they diminish the transmission of infectious diseases and thus protect everyone around you as well. For that reason, it is a good idea to get vaccinated before moving or make sure that your vaccines are up to date if you’re already immunized. While vaccines are not mandatory in the majority of US states or countries Americans frequently move to, some may be required when moving to certain countries. This especially affects those moving to Africa – you will need vaccines against tropical diseases if you’re moving south.

Vaccines will protect you from the worst and most common illnesses.

Stay insured throughout the move

Health insurance will make you feel safer in the knowledge that even if things go wrong, you can easily access medical care. But what kind of insurance should you be looking at when moving to another country? Well, first you should speak to your insurance provider to find out what kind of coverage they offer across the border (if any). Then, you need to research the kind of insurance offered in your destination country and how to get it. Finally, odds are that there will be a certain period of a few weeks between the time your current insurance no longer covers you and the time when your new insurance kicks in. Get travel insurance for that time. It’s important to make sure you have insurance throughout the relocation process. Bad things always happen when you least expect them to!

Prevention is the best method for handling health concerns when moving abroad

You’re always better off avoiding disease altogether than treating it. This is never more true than during an international relocation. So the best way to handle health concerns when moving abroad is to avoid them completely. That way you can focus on the much more urgent and important things while also enjoying a comfortable move. So what do you need to do? Eat healthily, rest a lot, don’t stress too much – these are the best ways to keep yourself healthy. And remember to listen to your body: if you feel under the weather, take a day off and get some vitamins. It’ll pay off when you nip any health problems in the bud instead of letting them drag during the move.

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