Exploring the land of the seven sheikdoms? You’ll have an amazing time discovering golden sand dunes and taking in the sights of this bustling quarter of the Middle East. But there’s one thing to bear in mind: although medical treatment in Qatar is exceptional, it’s also very costly. So it’s important to make sure you’re covered by your travel insurance.
So what happens in the unlikely event you feel unwell? Thankfully, most of the doctors in the clinics speak English. But Chris tells us if you are visiting, self-testing is a must. ‘Private hospitals in Qatar are good with many things, but monitoring INR and making helpful adjustments is not one of them! I spent a week in a hospital after they sent my INR up to 7.4’. So remember to stock up on supplies for your CoaguChek® device.
Whether it’s the ultra-modern skyline of Tokyo, or the stunning history of Kyoto, Japan has it all – including exceptional cuisine. Whilst you should sample all Japan has to offer, it is best to keep on top of your vitamin K intake. When visiting Japan a few years ago, Jilly didn’t realise that soy/soya beans were creating a jump in her INR. She explains ‘Because I was self-testing I found my INR had gone up to 5.8 and was able to safely manage it down to my 2.5 – 3.0 range with food and changing dose. I would have been in very unsafe territory without my CoaguChek’. Just in case you do end up needing to see a doctor, the name for warfarin out there is ‘Arefarin’.
One thing you might be surprised to know is that tipping is considered offensive in Japan. So if you’ve just had the best meal of your life, simply say ‘Arigatou gozaimas’ and bow as a sign of respect.
A melting pot of culture, the USA isn’t short of well…anything. With titanic metropolises, breath-taking nature reserves, mind-blowing theme parks and surf kingdoms – you probably won’t find enough time to fit it all in. But a word of caution, the USA is renowned for its costly medical bills for those without insurance. As Anne puts it ‘my nurse told me to do weekly checks and adjust my meds accordingly as it’s very expensive to get a test and meds over there’. So it’s a good idea to take plenty of supplies with you.
Unlike Japan, tipping is a sign that you enjoyed the service you received. So if you had a particularly nice waiter or waitress, give them a little something extra. Just make sure the service charge hasn’t already been added to your bill, to avoid tipping twice.
At the heart of Europe, Spain is soaked with sunshine and bursting with tradition. A plus point for Brits, (EU) citizens can get hold of the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles you to free or discounted medical treatment at state-run hospitals and local general practitioners. Although do bear in mind it is not an alternative to travel insurance.
Be careful though, as Maureen tells us that ‘Spanish doctors will have nothing to do with self-testing. However, on receiving my self-testing device, I was able to self-test and compare my results to those of the local clinic and learn for myself how to manage the process when we were travelling’. So again, it’s safe to plan ahead with medical supplies and also know that warfarin is called ‘Warfarina’ or ‘Aldocumar’ in Spain.
The Puerta del Sol (“Gate of the Sun”) plaza in Madrid is the physical centre of the country. So be sure to check it out if you’re in Madrid.
If you have a self-testing story from your travels, why not tell us by posting on our Facebook page?