Table of Contents 目录
How to Use This Guide
This guide provides the user with information on how to prepare for international travel from China to the United States. Some information may be useful for those traveling from and to other destinations as well. As each person’s medical needs may differ depending on personal factors, time and place, this guide should not be considered medical advice and should not substitute the advice of licensed healthcare providers.
Travel Health References
Free: https: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/before-travel
Translation Help For Above Websites
· Online translation services: Wechat, Google Translate, Baidu Translate, and Microsoft Translator. These services can translate the entire webpage or specific sections of text. However, the accuracy of the translation can vary and may not always be reliable.
· Translation plugin or software: Some website builders offer translation plugins or software that can automatically translate webpages into different languages. However, like online translation services, the accuracy may not be reliable.
Description of the US Healthcare System For Travelers
The US health system can be confusing for people visiting from other countries. Here are some basic things to know:
· Healthcare in the US can be very expensive. It's important to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. Most travel insurance will require you to pay out of pocket and then be paid-back (i.e.” reimbursed”) later
· The US healthcare system is complex and can vary depending on where you are in the country. It's important to ask questions and seek help if you need it.
· Finally, remember that staying healthy is the best way to avoid needing healthcare. Eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly to help prevent illnesses and injuries.
· If you need to see a doctor, you can go to a hospital emergency room or a clinic. Be prepared to pay for your visit, even if you have insurance.
· If you have a medical emergency, call 911 for an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency room. You will receive treatment regardless of your ability to pay. It is common for patients with non-life threatening conditions to wait several hours to be seen.
· In the US, people usually need to make appointments to see a doctor. You may need to call ahead to schedule a visit. Wait times can be 1-8 weeks depending on the type of doctor, location and insurance. There are now more telehealth options that may be less expensive. Telehealth providers may not be able to treat you if you have something that requires an exam such as
· If you need to fill a prescription for medication, you can go to a pharmacy. Some medications require a doctor's prescription, while others can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC). Some medications can be prescribed and also OTC. For patients paying without insurance, buying the OTC type is usually less expensive
· Doctors and other healthcare providers will generally ask you more questions than those you have met in China. They do this as history is usually more helpful than doing tests as tests can be misleading. Be ready to provide them with an accurate and detailed timeline of your medical history and symptoms.
· Medical records in the US are not usually not linked. Doctors will generally give you a summary of your information when you leave. They may also give you information on how to get the doctor’s notes and your test results. Make sure you check the notes and results 24-48 hours after your visit and keep copies for yourself in case you do not get better or get worse again so you may show the information to another healthcare institution.
· Healthcare providers in the US have to have translation services available for patients. Make sure you ask for a translation just in case you need it.
Medications Available Over the Counter in the US
· Fever and pain medications: ibuprofen, acetaminophen (= paracetamol)
· Medications for temporary relief of common cold symptoms: Runny/Stuffy nose, cough
· Urine discomfort
· Vaginal discharge
· Skin irritation or infections– topicals
· Allergies – pills, eye drops, and nasal sprays
Common Medications That Require a Prescription and Likely an In-person Doctor’s Visit
· Diabetes medication with the exception of some types of insulin
· Blood pressure medications
· Oral antibiotics
· Insulin (some types may be available over the counter as well)
Controlled Medications That Require a Prescription and will be Difficult to Fill in the US without Regular visits to a Primary Care Doctor
For controlled medications, you should get a doctor’s letter from your country on hospital/clinic letterhead that states the reason(s) you need the medication for US customs. Your doctor’s contact address, phone number, and preferably email should be on the letter. Have the letter translated into English and have both available for US customs.
All medication you bring to the US should be in their original packaging whenever possible. If no original packaging is available, label the medication container with the following information
Full name and date of birth of the person intended to take the medication:
韩宝宝 Han Bao Bao 1974 - 5- 30
Name of medication in original language and in English
Directions on how to take the medication in original language and in English
一天两次，一次一到两颗 Twice a day, 1-2 pills each time
Reasons for taking the medication
Commonly Used Terms In US Healthcare
Claim - a request made to an insurance company by an individual or business to receive payment or compensation for a loss or damage covered by their insurance policy.
Co-Pay – the amount of money an individual must pay out-of-pocket before their insurance coverage kicks in to cover the remaining costs of a claim.
Coverage limit - the maximum amount of money an insurance policy will pay out for a specific type of claim.
Deductible - the amount of money an individual or family must pay out-of-pocket before their insurance coverage kicks in to cover the remaining costs of a claim.
Premium - the amount of money an individual or business pays to an insurance company in exchange for coverage against potential losses.
Primary Care Provider – A provider or clinic who sees a patient regularly. This may be a pediatrician, family doctor or internist. In some US locations, obstetricians/gynecologists
Provider - Someone that may provide a medical diagnosis. In the US, this includes doctors (who may have MD or DO degrees, also called physicians), Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANP) and Physician Assistants (PA)
Telehealth or Telemedicine – Online provider consultations. Internet required. Some examples are
www.amazon.com (click on "Medical Care", on top banner).
Urgent Care – A clinic that focuses on acute issues. May offer same or next-day appointments but mostly see patients on a walk-in basis. May close sooner than posted hours if all slots are full. Some may have x-ray and laboratory services which are additional costs. Cost less than the emergency room and is likely the best option for travelers with acute issues. Usually prescribes no more than a month’s worth of medication for chronic issues.
Medical Issues to Address While in the US
The US has vaccinations that may not be available in some countries. For adults, most of these may be obtained at pharmacies without seeing a doctor. Pharmacies may also provide older kids COVID and Influenza vaccines.
Vaccines for infections not commonly seen in the US such as for Yellow Fever and Japanese Encephalitis may only be available in travel clinics or some health departments. You will need to check online for the city you are in or nearby cities to find vaccines for these.
If you have a health condition that you like to be seen in the US, it is best to email the hospitals or clinics you wish to contact before you travel to get an appointment and what information you will need at your appointment. It is common for there to be a 4-12 week wait for appointments.
*Last two doctor’s visits with blood pressure, heart rate, pulse oximetry on room air, height and weight, last one should be within 1 year if normal and 1 month if abnormal
Normal blood pressure 120/80 [i]
*Blood tests within the last 2 years and repeat any that were abnormal. If starting on any new medication, should have a follow-up 2-4 weeks before travel
*Enough medication for the whole visit plus one more month.
*Age appropriate preventive health tests. Find on US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) online
o Example: Everyone over 45 years old should have colon cancer screening such as a stool guaiac test. If positive test, should get a colonoscopy
o Web based and mobile app
Making Your Own Medical Summary: Write the information below down the best you can before you travel.
1. Take pictures of all your recent test results.
2. Bring medications in original packaging.
3. Write down medication(s) and anything else you have allergies to. For medications -- put down both Chinese and English names. English names available in all Chinese medication inserts. For allergies, list the name and allergic reaction each separately.
Eg. Pencillin: rash on hands when 10 years old. Peanut: lips swelled up at 20 years old.
4. Bring doctors’ notes ideally translated into English. These notes should have the EXACT Medical Diagnosis, year of diagnosis and treatment history. Heart disease is not an exact diagnosis as there are many different types of heart disease. Atrial Fibrillation is an exact diagnosis. If you are unsure, ask your doctor for the diagnosis ICD code. ICD is a common code used by the World Health Organization (WHO). ICD 10 is the most recent version but any version can as long as you note which version it is. The ICD code may not be an exact diagnosis as well but there is a higher chance it can be. ICD-10 為最新之國際疾病分類系統，普遍用為健康資料應採用之疾病 標準代碼
5. Email a copy of all of the above to yourself and someone who may access the email for you when you are traveling.
6. Take a paper copy of all of the above and take it to all your doctors’ visits. Please see “Pre-Travel Medical Preparation Guide” for additional information.