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Staying Healthy Abroad

IF YOU BECOME ILL

8 Seek top-notch medical care. A high-end hotel's concierge should have the names and numbers of reputable physicians, dentists, and clinics. Some hotels, such as the Four Seasons Buenos Aires, have an in-house registered nurse. Many others, such as the Conrad Bangkok, have doctors on call 24 hours a day.

If you buy travel-health insurance, you can get referrals from your provider. Otherwise, the consular-services section of an American Embassy can suggest preferred physicians and facilities. Also, the nonprofit International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (www.iamat.org) inspects clinics and has a list of English-speaking, Western-trained physicians around the world. Membership is required, but it's free.

9 Avoid buying medication locally. "A large number of antimalarials and antibiotics available overseas are counterfeit," Kozarsky says. Drugs in many developing countries can be purchased without a prescription, so if you must buy medicine abroad, make sure you get your hotel doctor to okay it.  A  2004 study in the journal Tropical Medicine & International Health found that 53 percent of antimalarials purchased in five Asian countries were bogus. Other medications may be adulterated with additional narcotics.

FOLLOW UP AT HOME

10 If you have a fever, seek medical attention. Up to 11 percent of returning travelers can experience febrile illness, according to a study published in the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians. If you've been to a malarious area, a fever is "a medical emergency,'' Kozarsky says, and you need to see a doctor immediately. The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (www.astmh.org) has a list of post-travel experts.

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