Health and Well Being
Overseas Student Health Cover
Overseas Student Health Cover or OSHC is compulsory for all international students and must be maintained throughout the students stay in Australia.
Providers of OSHC can be found either through the students educational provider or through their own research, there are many to choose from. It is best to research each provider to find one that suits the students needs best.
OSHC covers medical and hospital care during the students stay in Australia. Including prescription medication, ambulance and any other emergency service. OSHC however does not cover dental, optical and physiotherapy services. For cover for these specialist services students may need to seek further private health insurance at an additional cost.
Maintaining Good Health
To avoid unnecessary medical expenses, students should maintain good health whilst in Australia. A good food and exercise plan is a great way to start, in Australia it is recommended to have a minimum of 30 minutes exercise five times a week.
Other ways to maintain good health is to control stress levels, this is often difficult for University students however can be helped with a decent nights sleep as well as having all work under control.
Obviously it is ideal for students to consume alcohol and cigarettes in moderation or not at all, and to avoid doing either of these within a few hours of sleep. Keep water fluids up and try to eat vegetables and fruit, generally maintain a balanced diet.
If students are still feeling un well or overly stressed, it is a good idea to consult a General Practitioner.
Due to unsafe sex in Australia STI's or Sexually Transmitted Infections like chlamydia are growing in numbers in Australia. HIV and AIDS numbers are still low. All sexually transmitted diseases are avoidable by practising safe sex.
Contraception is readily available in Australia, condoms can be purchased from supermarkets, chemists and even some service stations. The pill as well as other hormonal contraceptive methods are available through a consultation with a General Practioner, as the student will need a prescription.
Alcohol and Other Drugs
It is legal for those over the age of 18 to purchase both alcohol and cigarettes in Australia, how ever if under the age of 25 the shop assistant may ask for photo identification in the way of a drivers license, proof of age card or passport. All other drugs are illegal in Australia, if found with any illegal substances the student will be penalised in the way of fines, prison or deportation.
Laws are getting stricter on smokers, with growing concerns of smoking related diseases such as lung cancer. All packs of cigarettes are sold with warnings on them. Due to the risk placed on smokers and the people around them cigarettes are gradually increasing in price to help stop smokers from buying them.
While drinking alcohol may seem like the 'cool' thing to do there are many risks involved. Alcohol consumption can have serious risks on a persons health, it may lead to depression and other mental illness.
Never leave a drink unattended in a public place as it could be spiked. A spiked drink can have dangerous consequences and should be avoiding at all costs.
If intending to drive a car or motorcycle do not drink alcohol. A drunk driver can lead to injuries, accidents, loss of license and even death. No one wants to be responsible for this.
There are many doctors available for all your medical needs. The most popular choice is to visit a General Practitioner who are available in most suburbs of Australia. To find a GP check the local directory including the yellow pages.
General Practitioners can provide prescriptions, medical advice, treat minor injuries, provide injections and offer referrals. General Practitioners can even preform minor surgery. Patients will need to make an appointment to see a doctor, this can be done by phoning the Medical Practice.
To see a specialist patients will need a referral from a General Practitioner. Most specialist services are not covered by Overseas Student Health Insurance, so will cost the student extra.
Specialists include dietitians, naturopaths, podiatrists, dermatologists and optician.
Emergency Room Doctors
In the case of an emergency patients can attend an emergency room at the nearest hospital for any severe medical conditions or injuries. Depending on the circumstances the patient may need to call 000 for an ambulance.
All prescriptions are made out by a General Practitioner. Prescription medication can be purchased by giving the script to a pharmacist at any chemist.
On receival of the medication the pharmacist will make you sign a form saying that the medication has been received. Always read the instructions and take only as it says to do so.
Bringing Medication From Home into Australia
If bringing medication from outside of Australia, make sure to have all medical records and prescriptions as well as a letter from the students doctor with you.
To get an additional script the student will need to make an appointment to see an Australian General Practitioner.
There are many dentists available in Australia, these can be found in local directories such as the yellow pages. Remember OSHC insurance may not cover dental services. Students do not need a referral to see a dentist, just call the practise and make an appointment.
Most accidents can be prevented by using common sense. There are simple things to remember such as never carry large amounts of cash, make sure bags are tightly closed, don't walk by yourself at night or use public transport at night by yourself when leaving the house ensure all doors are secure and locked. Practise stranger danger, never get into a car with some one you do not know, it is also a good idea to always have a fully charged mobile phone with credit on it.
There are also many first aid courses available through the Red Cross or Saint Johns. A first aid course is a great idea if the student intends on travelling, bush walking or attending general out door activities.
Most international students are not used to the currents and conditions of an Australian beach. To ensure the student is always safe when swimming on a beach, attend a beach which has life guards. Life guards will place red and yellow flags on the beach swim between the flags as this shows where the safest part of the beach is. This is also where the life guards are patrolling.
Again common sense is a huge part of water safety, if the student has been drinking alcohol or is under the influence of drugs do not swim or operate a boat. At certain times of the year there may be risks from jelly fish, if there is a threat such as this there will be signs along the beach do not swim in that area if there are jelly fish. If caught in a rip do not fight it, stay still and wave for help a life guard will come to help.
Most Australian house holds have emergency safety plans in the case of a fire or any other dangerous situation. Make sure that you are aware of all possible exits and choose the safest and quickest exit in the case of an emergency this may be through a window. A first aid kit and a fire blanket are a great idea to keep in your house just in case anything happens. Ensure that the emergency services number is known to all members of the house hold, call 000 in case of an emergency.
Always ensure the house is locked and that home security and alarm systems are working correctly.
It is compulsory for all Australian house holds to have working smoke alarms. Each year citizens are reminded to change batteries, all though it is best to change them twice a year.
Avoid Home Fires
To avoid house hold fires it is important to have working smoke alarms as well as by taking precautionary measures. Always be careful with electronic equipment, never smoke in bed, don't leave candles a light unattended, keep all materials away from open flames such as cook tops. Many parts of Australia are prone to bush fires, ensure lawns are mowed and gutters are clear to help prevent fire from spreading to your home.