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As your Expat Journey Begins, get off to a Healthy Start

As your Expat Journey Begins, get off to a Healthy Start

Courtesy of Keyser Benefits

Check Your Vaccinations
Vaccination is a necessary preventative measure and sometimes mandatory, depending on the country you are moving to.  Check with your doctor and get the necessary advice at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

Ensure Good Planning
Moving abroad can be overwhelming and involves a good deal of running about and exertion.  Attempting to cram too many things in to your day will leave you exhausted and stressed out.  You need to plan and prioritize instead of trying to do too much all at once.

Learn from the Locals
How do they live? What do they eat and do? Observing how locals adapt to the climate and learning from them can help you make simple lifestyle changes to lead a healthy and stress free life.  Make friends and ask them questions.

Protection from the Sun
Getting a tan may be considered "cool" but think of the damaging long term effects excessive exposure to the Sun could have on your skin as well as the risk of cancer.  Use a good sun-protector on your face and body; wear long, loose, cotton clothing and sun glasses with a wide brimmed hat.  Avoid spending long hours in the Sun as it will only prove to be exhausting and could end up being painful. 

Being allergic to dust or pollution can pose a big health hazard.  Wear a nose mask to protect yourself when traveling by public transport or walking the streets in highly polluted cities.  Know your city!

Find a Good Doctor Local Hospital

Identify a local doctor and hospital, preferably before you get there. Ask friends and colleagues for references.  Locate them and visit them to become familiar just in case you require their services.  If you are unsure of your coverage, call your provider or broker.

Carry Your Medication

When first arriving, stock up on adequate supplies of your medication.  Ask your doctor to give you a list of alternative medication as the ones you are using may not be available in your place of residence.

Drink bottled water and make sure you carry your own water with you in the car or your bag whenever you travel for work or otherwise.  Drinking caffeinated drinks and alcohol will dehydrate you especially in warm climate.  To avoid headaches, urinary tract problems and similar health concerns make sure you top up your fluid intake through the day.


Wash all fresh fruits, vegetables and meats with clean, drinking water before cooking and consuming them.  To avoid stomach issues do not eat raw or undercooked food.  Always eat freshly cooked food and avoid street food.


In many countries, it is considered social to drink with co-workers and friends.  Ensure you always know what you are drinking and how much and never drink alone.


Ensure you get regular exercise.  Run, walk, jog, ride a bicycle or swim at least three times a week to keep fit. Join a sports team to get exercise and meet people. Take classes such as Yoga and tai-chi from a certified instructor to deal with health and stress related problems.


Being in a new environment and having pressure from work to start right away can be very stressful.  Create a support group of family, friends and other expats even before you go.


While in a hot country, stiff joints, insomnia and symptoms of neuralgia are just some of the effects of excessive use of air-conditioning. Turning the system to low, leaving the doors and windows open during the day and using fans will help reduce the adverse effects.