Pre-employment medical examination for seafarers also known as PEME is mandated by international regulations for persons working on ships.
Many seafarers undergo PEME everyday. From first-time cadets to old and experienced seamen, each one must prove their mind and body fitness by passing the required medical exams.
Unfortunately, not all seafarers who take these batteries of tests come out unscathed.
The most common illnesses seamen encounter are hypertension, fatty liver, tooth extraction, restoration, hearing, and visual problems. Sometimes, there are other illnesses more profound than those.
For some, they get surprised by the results of their medical exam. They blame the clinic thinking they’re only milking seafarer’s money. I had my fair share of this event with a personal experience during my medical exam.
But while this is a gimmick to some medical institutions, let us first look at how well we are prepared before we cast stones on them.
Just a side note.
These tips, tricks, to do and not to do lists are not 100% guaranteed. There are other different factors that affect the results. But following these guidelines increases your chances of being “Fit To Work” for your next contract.
Easy Steps to Pass the Seafarer’s Pre-employment Medical Exam
Our goal is to be “fit to work” after the examinations. This is one of the most important parts of our employment. With proper preparation and self-discipline, this is totally possible and achievable without any hits or findings.
1. Dental Preparation
Before your actual medical exam, go to a dentist and have a check-up. Choose a responsible dentist known for his/ her quality service. Follow his advice whether a teeth cleaning, restoration, or extraction is required. It will cost you some money today but it will save you a lot more in the long run.
My latest private dental work was four years ago. Since then, all my oral exams for PEME took less than two minutes. They never asked me for another “linis, pasta, o bunot”.
2. Seven-Day Diet
Seven days. Give yourself seven days of preparation and you will be fit for your medical exams.
After that, a seven-day diet of fruits and vegetables. Eat only fruits for breakfast. Get those with high fiber. A well-cooked fresh vegetable with enough meat or fish on it is very helpful.
In between meals, consume only fruits during snacks including night snacks if you want to. Avoid fatty and oily foods especially those with high preservatives. Too much carbohydrates is also not helpful.
Don’t forget to drink a glass of milk before going to bed. Most findings from PEME are related to fatty and oily foods.
3. Zero Alcohol Policy
Avoid alcohol too. Do not take a single sip during this seven-day preparation.
Because a sip could turn into a glass, then a bottle, a case, and the last thing you know is that you’re having a party!
Alcohol causes anemia, and hypertension damages brain cells and destroys your liver. Your lungs are also heavily affected even if you don’t smoke since your drinking partners do.
Regular exercise is very powerful. Spend at least 60 minutes of routine exercise every morning. Make sure to meet the sunrise as you sweat yourself up.
Sunshine enables your skin to produce Vitamin D which is responsible for increased absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc.
Jogging is recommended. Sweat is fat crying- a good sign for your medical exam! During exercise, your body releases a chemical known as endorphins. Endorphins are similar to morphine- they help create a natural “high”.
Overall, exercise helps relieves stress, increases energy, strengthens the heart, builds strong bones, reduces fats, lowers blood pressure, and makes you look younger than your age.
5. Enough Sleep
After a day’s work, your body needs to repair itself. This function can only be done through sleeping.
The proverb, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” still holds true. Generally, an adult is required to sleep 8-9 hours a day, and 9-10 hours for children.
As you sleep, your body removes toxins and heals the broken cells and tissues. A good night’s sleep will keep you refreshed and recharged.
6. More Water
To fully rid your body of the toxins that it gathered, drink lots of water.
About 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Our body is also 70% liquid. There must be profound reasons why we should drink more water. As a rule of thumb, consume 8 glasses of water every day.
But you can always drink more especially if you are engaged in an exercise program. It is important to always keep yourself hydrated. Most of the toxins in your body will come out in the form of liquid.
Have you noticed? Your urine smells terrible and looks colored when you drink less water than when you drink more! Fruits are also high in liquid content so consider eating them.
7. Physical Health is as Good as Your Mental Health
Now that we know how to take care of our body, the last thing to do is to take care of yourself- your mind!
Your mind and body connection is very strong and powerfully connected. You can’t have a healthy body when you don’t have a healthy mind and vice versa.
To create a powerful, positive mind, LAUGH. That’s right. Watch movies that make you happy. Listen to songs that keep you positive. Avoid news as much as possible. Play with your kids. Date your wife. Do something fulfilling and kick out negative news and thoughts that come in (perhaps friends too?).
Passing the pre-employment medical examination for seafarers doesn’t have to be difficult. We just have to take care of our health not just before the exam but every day. I have tried those steps and proven them effective.
My seven-day preparation saves me a lot of time and money than no preparation at all. The process is much more enjoyable when you know that your results will be great.
My medical exam went very smoothly. I no longer have to buy medicines or wait another week for a follow-up check-up.
May the winds be in your favor!