Planning To Study Abroad? Make Sure You Take These Three Medical Tests

Date:   Tuesday , February 21, 2017

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Applying to colleges abroad and waiting for that agonizing acceptance letter is stressful enough; however, most students tend to forget the crucial visa processing steps. Over the past few years, there has been a rise in the medical criteria for both student & work visas. Some countries now ask for a proper full body checkup including a medical certificate from a \'panel\' hospital from the applicant\'s country. Therefore, it\'s imperative for students who are planning to study abroad to be aware and well versed with the various medical tests they might have to undergo post their application process.

Countries specifically in the northern hemisphere have upped medical scrutiny for students & work permit applications, taking into consideration global epidemics such as Ebola & swine flu. Precautionary tests are being placed in the visa process to ensure that the infected applicants are identified early and stopped outside their specific borders. These precautionary tests are for both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

The requirement of medical test may vary, depends upon the criteria of host country for visa application. In general, they will require medical history review, physical examination, chest X-ray and blood test for infectious diseases. In case of children under the age of fifteen, Chest X-ray and blood tests are not usually required. Moreover, visa applicant has to keep medical records and medication prescriptions updated before application.

Some of the most common tests that an applicant should undertake on a periodical basis are mentioned below-

Blood Test: Blood test gives the information of liver function, kidney function, complete blood count including red and white blood cells, platelets and hemoglobin, various types of Hepatitis (Hepatitis C), HPV and HIV. Pathologist will need blood serum sample to perform these tests and no special preparation is required to conduct these tests.

Urine Test: Urine analysis can detect conditions such as urinary tract infections, kidney disorders, liver problems, diabetes or other metabolic conditions. Before urine test, it is important to give a complete history of prescribed, over-the-counter medications and supplements you may be taking. Medications can affect the results of urine analysis. If you are suffering from any medical problems, then it becomes mandatory that you should carry a letter from the attending physician, describing the medical condition and prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs. Also, medications you carry overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled.

Chest X-ray: Chest X-ray used to diagnose shortness of breath, persistent cough, fever, chest pain or injury. Also, it may be used to help diagnose and monitor treatment for a variety of lung conditions such as pneumonia, emphysema and cancer. This test requires no special preparation.

Attention for following indications/conditions:

Tuberculosis: Abnormal Chest X-ray and positive Acid Fast Bacteria (AFB) screening test shows tuberculosis. Test preparation may require as suggested by your physician. If you ever had Tuberculosis, then you may require carrying a certificate signed by Doctor that you were treated. This document must include date and type of medication taken.

Syphilis: Syphilis is highly infectious disease caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Syphilis can be diagnosed with a quick and inexpensive blood test. Positive VDRL or other blood test will confirm the Syphilis. If you ever had Syphilis, then you may require carrying a certificate signed by Doctor that you were treated.

Ebola: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF) or Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a severe and infectious human disease caused by RNA virus belonging to the family Filoviridae and genus Ebola virus. Blood sample is withdrawn from the patient and tested for the presence of disease specific antigen or antibody. Other test like RT-PCR and virus culture may require in certain cases to confirm it. If you ever had infection from Ebola, then you may require carrying a certificate signed by Doctor that you were treated.

Pregnancy: Pregnancy will require a special care and record of medical test for international travel. As per gynecologist, traveling is most comfortable during second trimester and would create discomforts during late pregnancy. Firstly, consult to your physician for your prenatal care. Many countries require certain vaccinations or other precautions, which you may not be able to take while you are expecting. Also, it will require keeping a record of your medications and clinical report from gynecologist. In case, Chest-X ray is required by country for visa application, then Centre of Disease and Control (CDC) instructs panel physicians and laboratories to provide abdominal and pelvic protection with double layer, wrap-around lead shields when they receive the chest radiographs.

Any Other Chronic Medical Condition: Applicants must present a certificate describing the condition(s), diagnosis, the current treatment, and prognosis with a list of prescribed medications.