Medical care in unfamiliar territory

Dear Heloise: Many people today are traveling for business, vacations and to visit family and friends. But what do you do when you need a doctor in a foreign country? — Laura S., Auburn, Wash.

Laura, your first call should be to the U.S. embassy (http://www.usembassy.gov), and I recommend having the phone number and address of the embassy with you for each country you plan to visit. The embassy can help you find a doctor or hospital, and even can contact family or friends on your behalf. Make sure the doctor you see can understand your language, and make a list of all medications you take. Have this information in your wallet for easy access.

It’s always best to be proactive with your health. Make sure you’re up to date with all vaccinations, have all of your medications with you, and carry a card with your blood type, any chronic illness you might suffer from and any allergies you have. Wear a medical-alert bracelet, especially if you have a serious medical condition. If you are traveling to a dangerous place, it’s wise to register with the American embassy in that country. — Heloise