Guide to Turkey - Holiday Health and Safety Precautions

Many people get so excited about their impending holiday that they often forget about taking any health and safety precautions before departure. So here, in brief, is what you need to know...

Health Guide & Pre-departure Checks

Vaccinations: There are no compulsory vaccinations for entry into Turkey from the UK, however the following are recommended – Hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid and polio. For people staying for a period exceeding three months (especially in remote areas), immunisation for diphtheria, rabies and Hepatitis B is also recommended.

There is a risk of malaria in the areas of Antalya, Alanya, Side, the east coast, southeast Anatolia, Adona (and surrounding plain) in the months of May through to October. However, there is no risk of contracting the mosquito-borne disease in the area west of Antalya.

People venturing into these areas should take a course of anti-malaria tablets prescribed by their own doctor. Also use a reliable brand of insect repellent in conjunction with the tablets to help ward off the mosquitoes.

General advice: As a precautionary measure, people who have particularly weak stomachs should carry anti-diarrhoea and anti-vomiting pills in their first aid kit in case of a dose of food poisoning.

Women should carry a supply of tampons, as they are relatively hard to find outside of tourist areas, as sanitary pads are generally only available in local shops.

Sunscreen is vital as the sun is a lot hotter and more intense than in Britain. No-one finds sun stroke (or sunburn for that matter) enjoyable, so make sure you reapply it regularly. Generally you should apply it every two hours (more often if you are swimming).

Some travellers who are visiting remote areas have also been known to carry their own disposable syringes if the need arises where they need to be injected by a local doctor. While this is an extreme measure, it offers complete protection by the fact that you know the syringe is clean and sterilised.

Insurance: Make sure you take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy from a reputable insurance company prior to your departure from home. Not only will this cover you from theft and other travel problems, but it will also cover you if you get sick. Treatment in foreign countries can be extremely expensive for visitors, and if you need medical assistance, you will most likely get landed with the bill afterwards. Medical-wise, another important thing to look for in a policy is a repatriation clause where you will be flown home for treatment if needed.

On your arrival : If you are prone to stomach upsets, avoid eating from stalls on the roadside or footpath. Hygiene levels at these stalls are known to be a lot lower than in a restaurant, and you are likely to end up with a nasty case of food poisoning if you are not vigilant about what you eat.

Along the same lines, drink bottled water – even if the water is said to be safe to drink – the locals’ tolerance to water-borne infections will be a lot higher than that of people from more developed countries such as Britain.

Personal safety

Just because you are on holiday and having a great time, doesn’t mean you can forget about personal safety. Use your common sense, and remember the basics: try not to carry more money on you than needed (or flash it around); never leave your belongings unattended; don’t venture down dark alleys or unsafe areas; don’t accept drinks (or drugs) from strangers etc – remember, that if you wouldn’t do it at home, then certainly don’t do it overseas.

There are regular travel safety warnings issued about travel to Turkey, with a high threat (and several attacks) of terrorism in Istanbul over the past few years. Britons are advised to be vigilant around areas where western businesses are situated, and where westerners congregate. For an up-to-date travel advisory from the UK government, check out www.fco.gov.uk.

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