Health Care Preparations for Korea

Category : Health/Fitness
Nov 28, 2014

Preparing to come to Korea shouldn’t be a big stress especially in regards to your health. You don’t have to worry about any tropical illness with a name not even the doctor can pronounce. They don’t exist here. You’re not going to face a grizzly animal that could kill in one fair bite. I’ve heard there are tigers in the DMZ region, but you can’t go there anyway. If you gash your leg open, break your arm, or somehow manage to become riddled with sickness, there are well equipped hospitals full of expertly trained doctor who can speak English to take care of your every health need.


Home Country Prep

  1. Make sure you have consulted a doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for vaccines or specific medication to take effect. Ensure that your standard vaccinations are up to date such as the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, the diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, and the poliovirus vaccine.
  2. The doctor may recommend other routine travel vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis. Although you may consider getting them, they are not necessary as these diseases don’t exist here.
  3. Make sure you take your current prescription medicines with you and that you have enough medication to last the duration of the trip. The same brand of medication might not be available in Korea, although pharmacies will most likely have the same formula. Consult your doctor about alternative brands of the same medication.
  4. Bring over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea. You don’t know beforehand how you will respond to food, water and other consumables in Korea.
  5. If you’re traveling in Korea, don’t leave home without purchasing health insurance.


On the Road

  1. Carry a letter from your physician describing any preexisting medical conditions you have including a list of prescription medications plus the generic names of the prescribed drugs.
  2. Any medications being carried overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled. You should check with the Korean embassy to make sure your required medications are not considered illegal narcotics. For example, Adderall is illegal to bring into the country but it can be prescribed once you are here in Korea.


Health Care in Korea

  1. The Korean health care system is advanced. You can find all over-the-counter medications that you might need for minor aches and pains. Don’t bother filling precious suitcase space with meds you can pick up easily here.
  1. Koreans generally don’t have allergies to shellfish or peanuts and therefore they are not accustomed to those types of allergic reactions. If you have a severe allergy you must be diligent in protecting yourself. Always carry your epipen and wear your ‘medical alert’ bracelet.  Don’t eat out alone if you don’t know what ingredients are in the food.
  2. Korea is known for excellent herbal and natural treatments. If you are getting sick while in Korea, head to the convenience store first. You can buy Vitamin C drinks and tablets, fiber juices and special drinks full of ginger and ginseng to ward off colds.
  3. Most foreigners live in Korea without ever having any problems with disease or injuries, but should this happen, the majority of health related services and procedures are covered by the National Health Insurance.


Tags : Healthcare.

Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.