Why it’s important to have a medical passport

When you’re moving abroad, or if you travel abroad frequently, it’s vital to have access to detailed health records, just in case anything happens. A medical passport is a great solution, and doesn’t even have to cost any money because you can make it yourself. Just be sure it contains all important medical information.

A medical passport is simply a document in which you state all medical information about yourself. It is always a good idea to keep track of what kind of medicine you use and have used in the past, even if your pharmacy also does it for you. If you do it yourself, make sure there is never any missing information and it is accessible to you at any time. You can ask your current pharmacist/doctor to provide you with all your information; this should be on your to-do list before making a move abroad.

Medical jargon is mostly the same in many countries, because the words are derived from Latin. Despite this, it’s probably a good idea to have your ‘passport’ written both in your native language and the local language of your expat home.

What to include in your medical passport

Your medical passport should have all your basic details on the first page:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number and e-mail
  • Your insurance details
  • One or two emergency contacts
  • Your blood type

The rest of your passport should then include all important medical details that will help doctors in the case of an emergency:

  • Your height (metric and imperial), weight (metric and imperial), hair colour, eye colour
  • Your medicine history (add the dates when you started and quit)
  • Your current medication (add the dates when you started and when you will quit)
  • Your dental records
  • Past surgeries and possible complications
  • Allergies (everything: food, plants, medicine, medical materials, etc.)
  • Specify if you can take anesthetics
  • Any long term conditions/diseases (as detailed as possible)
  • Hereditary illnesses

Another good way of keeping detailed health records (if you’re from the EU) for your whole family is to obtain an EU health passport, which is printed in eight languages and available free from pharmacies.

If you have a detailed medical passport, it will save you the trouble of having to translate everything and trying to get in contact with your (old) pharmacy and doctor. Keep this document in a safe or in a safe place as it contains private information.