It is going to be knotty if you get sick abroad, for the majority of international students, describing their illness and symptoms to doctors or GP’s could be a really tricky thing due to the limits of their language ability and the unfamiliarity to the local medical system.
I can still remember the day when I confronted to acute gastro-enteritis in the middle of the night (a kind of illness of the stomach that causes diarrhoea and vomiting in a sudden time), it was so horrible cause I needed to call ambulance and describe what was going on to the call centre regarding my colic. I can’t remember what I said but it was one of the most awful experience I’ve ever encountered abroad, because in such extreme situation I could not explain my physical conditions in English as precise as in Chinese. The only thing I could do was to use as many single terms off the top of my head to explain the situation. OH MY GODNESS, I’ll say! It is a nightmare!
Just in case any of you guys may feel hopeless when getting sick, here are some useful tips in respect of emergency treatment and health consultation. A three-level pyramid that indicates the level of urgency will be given in conjunction with the tips.
- If you suffer from life-threatening illness or emergency, such as heart disease, food poisoning, venomous animal bite, several burn or respiratory failure etc. If you do, unfortunately, get suffered, then you may require immediate first aid, emergency room care or surgery. Please always keep the emergency call 000 (triple zero) in mind for expert medical assistance. IT IS YOUR LAST STRAW. If, you do need to get treatment but not in emergency, then after-hour GP services (or we call doctor-to-your-door) might be necessary. Simply call 13 7425 (SICK) from 4.00 PM weekdays (the community GP clinics and hospital outpatient normally close at 4.30 all day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays for a home visiting doctor.
- Please always keep an eye on the clinics and health centres adjacent to your community, don’t forget to write down the contact numbers and email addresses because unlike walk-in medical services, the majority of health centres and clinics in Australia accept early bookings only. Sometimes you may need to wait longer than 2 hours in the lobby, that’s not a good idea. In this regard, walk-in emergency clinics are easier options for non-life threatening injuries or illnesses. Expert medical assistance will be provided as soon as you arrive, with no waiting, but, keep in mind that the major expense cannot be reimbursed from OSHC (Overseas Students Health Cover). It is always a good idea to leaf through the latest Yellow Book, note down the contact details of closest GP’s, health centres and walk-in emergency, stick it on your bedside.
- A first-aid kit is essential when you unintentionally get sick, put in as much household remedies as possible just in case some sort of ailments make you uneasy. It is not necessary to make an appointment with GP when you got flu, cough or light fever, just stay at home for a few days with appropriate medicines, you will be fine. Don’t take any medicine that you may have no idea about, it can only make you feel worse!
PLEASE DO TAKE CARE GUYS, PREVENTION IS ALWAYS EASIER THAN A CURE!