People wanting to travel to Greece may be wondering about the health risks associated with the nation. They are in luck. Greece is an incredibly healthy country, with Greek people living longer and healthier lives than many other Europeans. The health risks for the traveler are very few and far between. However, those that may be worth noting are listed here:
Bug bites in Greece are unlikely to cause you any serious harm, but they are nonetheless extremely irritating, and can bring on an allergic reaction in rare, susceptible people. To prevent bites from mosquitoes and other insects, cover your limbs, and repel them with a DEET based spray. If you are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors and are concerned about biting insects, it may be worth treating your clothing with permethrin, which will keep insect irritants at bay.
One of the main dangers of a hot climate like Greece are conditions associated with the heat. These can be easily avoided by not overdoing it in the sun, and keeping topped up with fluids. The water in Greece is perfectly safe to drink, so make sure you have plenty of it! Heat exhaustion is something not many think about, but it can turn into heatstroke, which is dangerous. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headaches, extreme lethargy, heightened heart rate, nausea, a flush on the skin, and tiredness. These can be difficult to spot if you have been on the ouzo, as many of the symptoms mirror those of overindulgence in alcohol. Keep an eye on your company, and if you think that they are suffering from heat exhaustion, get them into the shade and make them drink some water (this also helps people who have had too much to drink!). It is a good idea to replace the salts they might have lost through sweating, perhaps through consumption of soup. The symptoms of heat exhaustion can be eradicated within half an hour, with correct treatment. If you are elderly or diabetic, it is very important not to become dehydrated with heat exhaustion as this can put a great strain on the kidneys. Keep your fluid levels topped up at all times with plenty of water, however, and you should be fine!
If left untreated, heat exhaustion can become the far more serious heatstroke. This causes hyperthermia – the hot equivalent of hypothermia – which brings on a flood of sweat, massively elevated heart rate, a high temperature and muscle cramps, possibly alongside vertigo, headaches, nausea, loss of balance, vertigo, a swimming head, anxiety, blackouts, and even seizures. A sign to watch out for is heavy sweating which suddenly stops, and is replaced by a tingly, tight, prickly feeling in the skin. Upon feeling this, get some water and find some shade right away, as it means that your brain is struggling to regulate your temperature, and can be a warning sign of heatstroke. If you or one of your party is unfortunate enough to come down with heatstroke, they will require medical intervention. Call an ambulance, and, while waiting for it to arrive, try to get the patient to drink some water, and cool them gently with flannels or perhaps a cold spray. Do not plunge them into cold water, however much this may seem like a good idea. The sudden contrast may put the body into shock and bring on hypertension.
The European Consortium for Emergency Contraception notes that the Morning After Pill is widely available in Greece, should you need it, but is held behind the counter. This means that a pharmacist must be asked for it – it cannot simply be bought off the shelves. The contraceptive pill is also sold in Greek pharmacies, often over the counter – although theoretically a prescription is needed, so it might be best to ensure that you have an adequate supply packed before you leave. Greece is a popular destination for young European holidaymakers, who may be somewhat promiscuous, and as such the country is committed to cutting the spread of certain infections. This means that condoms are sold widely and there is no stigma at all attached to buying them. You need not worry, therefore, about accidentally contracting an indiscreet disease while holidaying in Greece.
Your trip to Greece, as long as precautions are taken regarding the heat, should pose no risk to your health! However, should you need medical assistance, here are some useful phrases to employ:
Voíthia! – Help!
Borite na me? – Can you help me?
Thelo na tho yiatro – I want to see a doctor
Thelon a pow sto sokomio – I want to go to the hospital
Then estanome kala – I don’t feel well
Parakaló míla pyo argá – Please speak more slowly.
Miláte angliká? – Do you speak English?
Perastiká – Get well soon!