No matter how busy you are preparing for a move overseas, or living life to the full while an expat, it is important to keep a focus on your health. Here are 5 tips for a healthy 2018.
1. Maintain a good work-life balance
We all talk about finding a better balance between work and leisure, and as an expat it is even more important. In our article Should expats work to live or live to work? we explore ways to maintain a better work-life balance. Remember, living overseas is a great way to see more of the world. Exploring countries in Europe on your weekends is much cheaper when living in the UK, than when you are living in Sydney!
2. Understand any entitlements you have to Medicare or the local health system
Although everyone complains about the health system in Australia, it is still one of the best in the world. When you move overseas you will now be at the mercy of a different healthcare system.
You will first want to understand what entitlements you have to the local public health system and whether or not Australia has a reciprocal health care agreement with your new country of residence. Benefits under a reciprocal health care agreement are generally quite limited in scope and duration, so you may also need to consider whether you should take out international health insurance (also known as expat health insurance).
You may also continue to be eligible to access Medicare services when you return to Australia. We explore the medicare implications for Australians moving overseas in more detail here.
3. Ensure you maintain access to quality health care?
Australia does not have reciprocal health agreements with most countries, and for the countries that it does, the subsidised health care available is usually limited to emergency treatments.
Expat health insurance will help ensure you have access to the same standard of medical care you have in Australia wherever you are in the world. Expat health insurance works slightly differently to private health insurance in Australia, so we put together 9 things you should know before taking out expat health insurance.
4. Understand the health impacts of long-haul flights
Australians know better than most how tough long haul flights can be. But it isn’t just the jet lag that should worry us, but there are a number of other health impacts of long-haul flights.
- Dehydration – with the air humidity in airplanes around 10%, the moisture level in airplanes is less than in the Sahara Desert! You should expect to lose around 1 to 2 litres of water during a 10 hour flight.
- Digestive issues – bloating, bad breath and constipation are some of the more common digestive problems from long haul flights. Dehydration and unsuitable foods can make these problems worse. You can read about the best foods to eat when travelling on a plane here.
- Infections – some studies have suggested that passengers are 100 times more likely to contract a sickness when travelling on a plane. Regular hand washing and use of antibacterial soap or wipes will go some way to reducing your risk
5. Protect yourself from Deep Vein Thrombosis when travelling
Aussie expats love to travel, and so that increases our risk of deep vein thrombosis.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when blood thickens and then pools into clots usually in the lower extremeties. DVT doesn’t just impact older people, but can hit travellers of any age. Dehydration can make DVT even more likely. To minimise the risk of DVT it is important to get out of your seat and go for a walk every hour or so.