Basic Health Information

This is general information only. You should consult with a physician for specific advice.


Your body will go through some shocks your first weeks in the U.S. You will be adjusting to a new time schedule, new food, stress, possible insomnia, etc. In order to help you stay healthy, try to eat well (McDonald’s every day does NOT equal “eating well”), try to get enough sleep, and try to drink plenty of water.

If you do experience some stomach problems, the “white diet” (also called the BRAT diet; BRAT = bananas, rice, apples, and tea or toast) will help you get over the problems MUCH faster. Basically this means do NOT consume any dairy products or acidic food/juices (like orange juice, tomato sauce, onions, or garlic). DO eat other “white” food: plain rice, plain potatoes, plain yogurt (no fruit or garlic in it), bananas, apples, or anything very bland.


Over-the-counter medicine is any drug or supplement that is deemed safe enough that you can buy it directly from the shelf in a drug store or grocery store. Availability may differ from your home country.

Prescription medicine includes things` like antibiotics, strong pain relievers, etc. They are regulated by the U.S. health agencies and therefore need a doctor’s prescription in order to buy.

The generic name of a drug is the scientific name that is often recognizable across the world. The brand name of a drug is the name that a specific company gives to a drug they sell. For example, ibuprofen is the generic name of a mild over-the-counter pain reliever. But many companies sell their own brand  (Motrin, Advil, etc.). They are all the same drug, just made by different companies.

Mild pain-relievers/fever-reducers:

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosen)

Mild stomach problem relief:

  • Antacids/Anti-Gas (Tums, Maalox, Alka-Seltzer, Pepto-Bismol)
  • Antidiarrheal medicines (Immodium, Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate)
  • Constipation relief (Exlax, Dulcolax, Milk of Magnesia)
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