Health Advice for South Korea

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Health Advice for South Korea

The quality of healthcare will vary depending on where you are, but is generally very high quality but also expensive. The sheer number of hospitals and specialized clinics in the country will also offer you a greater amount of choice. The quality is of very high quality; Korean healthcare is world-widely known for its excellence in both research and clinical medicine..

  • Most Korean doctors can communicate in English, being the most highly educated in the country. Especially in the larger hospitals in big cities, there wont be any doctor who can't speak English; even nurses have full command over the language. However, you may find them a little difficult to understand due to their Korean accent, so do ask them to slow down and go through things with you clearly.
  • Although health care in South Korea is not free, it is heavily subsidized by the government and is very cheap more so in the clinics compared to the United States. For expatriate workers who have a medical insurance card (this is required), it is even less expensive (although it is still not free).
  • In addition to Western medicine, oriental medicine is quite popular in Korea. Herbal supplements can be bought in most pharmacies as well as from shops which produce their own. The most popular herbal supplements (such as Ginseng) can even be bought in convenience stores in the form of energy drinks, tea, gum, and alcohol.This is not to be ignored, as Oriental Medicine has deep roots and even a university degree in it is required to practice unlike psuedo-oriental-clinics in western countries where the owner does not have a proper (or even fake) qualifications. Though such herbal medicines can be effective, they should not be taken instead of modern medicine.
  • Pharmacies are usually located near hospitals, as hospitals in Korea are not allowed to dispense take-home prescriptions; prescriptions are dispensed in small paper packages.
  • Although there are no official vaccinations that are required or recommended for visitors, Hepatitis A attacks the liver and is transmitted through food and water. It is an issue all over the country. But once infected time is the only cure. The Center for Disease Control designates the prevalence of infection in Korea to be intermediate.
  • A good basic rule to follow when travelling is when it comes to food, do what the locals do especially when it comes to water. Most will have it filtered or boiled before drinking. Although tap water in Korea is perfectly safe to drink, you may want to follow the local habits, if only to get rid of the chlorine smell. However, as Kangwon-do is predominantly rural, it has the safest drinking water in the whole country. There are usually signs around water sources that imply that the water is safe to drink.

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