FPJ's Campus Care: Pre-Departure Medical Tips For Indian Students

FPJ's Campus Care: Pre-Departure Medical Tips For Indian Students

The Free Press Journal's "Campus Care" campaign aims to provide Indian students and parents preparing to study abroad with vital information about health, safety, and emergency preparedness.

Simple VishwakarmaUpdated: Monday, June 17, 2024, 05:35 PM IST
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FPJ's Campus Care |

With the increasing number of Indian students pursuing education overseas, parents face the difficult challenge of ensuring their children are well-prepared for this big change. Amid the chaos of preparations, it's crucial to prioritise a student's health by scheduling necessary pre-departure medical exams. These exams are essential for protecting students' health and should not be considered just formalities.

Parents can help their children have a smooth and healthy start to their academic journey overseas by taking proactive measures to address potential health difficulties. This thorough preparation offers peace of mind and establishes a strong foundation, reducing the likelihood of future health issues.

Dr Chhaya Vaja, Internal Medicine Expert at Apollo Spectra, Tardeo, Mumbai, focused on the importance of these preparations, stating, “While travelling abroad, especially to the United States to study, it is crucial to evaluate your health condition and address those health concerns before moving abroad. Students are advised to undergo full body checkups to gain valuable insights and information about their health and reduce the likelihood of health complications.”

She further explained, “It is also crucial to get health check-ups like X-rays and blood tests for identifying various contagious diseases like HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), HPV (Human Papillomavirus), and Hepatitis. A chest x-ray should be done if you of suffering from problems like shortness of breath, persistent pain in the chest, or coughing to detect any early signs of health issues. Undergoing these tests in advance can be a smart and effective move considering the differences in medical procedures and costs in countries like the U.S.”

Dr Vaja also talked about the necessary vaccinations, which include MMR (Measles, Mumps, and rubella), Hepatitis B, Typbar, DPT (Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), influenza vaccine (flu shots), and Pneumococcal vaccine.

Expert advice on pre-existing medical conditions

Dr Vaja shared her insights on managing pre-existing medical conditions for students. She stated, “If you suffer from certain pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, COPD, hypertension, or thyroid, then you are advised to carry your medicines and medical prescription to avoid any further complications. Talk to your family doctor about the substitution of the current medicines, as it might be a challenging task to find the same medications or the same brand in a foreign country.”

She highlighted the importance of technology in maintaining health abroad, “Due to advancements in technology and the internet, it has now gotten easier to connect with experts or doctors from all around the world in seconds. This could be highly beneficial during a medical emergency, where prompt diagnosis is needed. Students are advised to stay in touch with their doctors, who have a thorough knowledge of their medical history and health issues, which can be helpful in an emergency.”

Tips for maintaining health and well-being

Dr Vaja also provided tips for maintaining good health and well-being while studying abroad, considering factors like potential stress, dietary changes, and unfamiliar environments.

“Shifting to a new country can be challenging due to various factors, like an unfamiliar environment, changes in eating habits, language barriers, and cultural differences. This could lead to negative strain on your mental health, resulting in physiological problems like stress, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, homesickness, and depression,” Dr Vaja said.

“Look for healthy eating options near your dormitory or hostel that suit your taste palate and eating habits,” she suggests.

“Do not neglect or avoid any symptoms of health issues like fever, weakness, or cough, as it could be an indication of various underlying health conditions,” she underscores.

“Engaging in social interaction or making new friends can help combat psychological problems like stress, loneliness, or homesickness while creating a friendly environment,” Dr Vaja added.

Accessing medical care abroad

Dr Vaja also discussed the resources and services students can access for medical care or advice while abroad.

She highlights, “Medical insurance is considered a blessing for students studying abroad. Investing in a good health insurance plan can help cover all the treatment costs and provide other benefits. However, it becomes essential to do thorough ground research, authenticity checks and health benefits offered before choosing any insurance policy.”

She further underscores, “Make sure to stay in contact with your healthcare provider or doctor through calls, emails, or WhatsApp to promptly discuss any query or concern related to your health. This could be of great help, as your family doctor knows in-depth about your health conditions and how your body reacts to certain medications, making the diagnosis easier and more effective.”

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