As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry,” health circumstances can be unpredictable. Whether you’re travelling to Israel for a short-term trip or an expat preparing to become a resident, take precaution and make these preparations for you and your family.
1 – Obtain International Health Insurance
Securing an international health insurance policy should be top of mind when preparing for your trip abroad. Unless you are a Jewish immigrant coming to live in Israel, you will not be covered by Israel’s national health-care plans. While most expatriates relocating to Israel for work will receive private insurance through their employer, it is important to understand what your policy covers. You may need to purchase an additional supplemental plan to be covered for certain pre-existing conditions and health services. (Read on: Why You Need Health Insurance Travelling To Israel).
2 – Arrange a Physical Exam with Your Doctor
Making sure you are healthy is of utmost importance before moving to a new country. Receiving a full physical exam, including blood work, will ensure that you’re in good physical condition. Notify your doctor about your plans and request a copy of your medical records in the case that you get sick while abroad and need to provide your medical history.
3 – Bring a Supply of Prescriptions and Prescription Information
It would behove you to ask your doctor for an extra few months’ supply of your prescription while you get settled in your new surroundings and find a new doctor and pharmacy. Because prescriptions and their dosages may vary from country to country, it is important that you ask your doctor or pharmacist for your prescriptions’ information including the generic name, the ingredients and dosage, as well as any equivalent drugs (if any) to the one you’re currently taking. This information will assist your new physician in ensuring that you receive the correct medication and dosage that you need.
4 – Get Recommended Travel Vaccines for Israel
The health-care services in Israel are of high quality (with the exclusion of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip). Aside from heat exhaustion, dehydration or the occasional sunburn, visitors and residents face very little health risks. With that said, prior to emigrating to Israel, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that all routine vaccinations should be up to date. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and the yearly flu shot. In addition, visitors are advised to be vaccinated against hepatitis A, a disease that can be contracted through contaminated food or water. Additional vaccines are advised dependent upon your activities and which areas you plant to travel to. (For further information, refer to The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.)
5 – Create a List of Local Emergency Numbers and Translations
While an emergency is the last thing you want to think about when planning for you trip to Israel, taking simple precautions can make a world of a difference if something does occur. Whether you jot them down on a piece of paper or type a note on your smart-phone, keep an on-hand list of important emergency numbers you may need. The local police (emergency number: 100), ambulance (101), fire rescue (102), and even the number to your local embassy are all helpful to have. Due to the language barrier that most visitors and expats will face, it is also a good idea to keep a list of important phrases in Hebrew. Tel Aviv Doctor has compiled a list of medical phrases in Hebrew to assist you (read on).