are the recommendations of
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for
immunizations for travelers to Turkey.
what the UK's National Travel
Health Network and Centre recommends.
Here's what NHS
Scotland's Fit for Travel recommends.
Check your country's travel
health recommendations before consulting
your doctor and making your own decision
As for me, unless there
is some special
epidemic alert (H1N1/Swine Flu, Avian
Flu, etc.), or if I'm going to do something
unusual (such as go camping in a swampy
malaria-endemic district for a long
time), I get no special immunizations
for a trip to Turkey.
Take It Easy
To stay healthy while you travel in Turkey, don't
and drink in moderation and
get plenty of rest. If you're
not feeling well, rest in your hotel
room rather than pushing onward.
(If you push onward and get sicker
you'll have to rest even longer and
you'll lose even more travel time.)
Sun & Heat
In the warm months, use sunblock
lotion regularly and wear a
hat to avoid sunburn. Drink
liquids regularly (at least every
hour) in hot, dry weather—even
if you don't feel thirsty—to
avoid dehydration. Surprisingly,
mild dehydration can bring on stomach
upsets, dizziness and diarrhea which
are often mistaken for food ailments.
The cure is simple: remember to drink
a glass of water or a soft drink every
Consult your doctor concerning Travelers
Diarrhea. Changes in food can disturb
digestion, so go easy on the spicy
food. (Most Turkish
food is not spicy.) Be careful
not to overeat. In
fact, you should "undereat," especially
early in your trip. Once your digestive
system becomes familiar with new intestinal
flora, you can try new foods.
Here's information on food allergies.
Drink bottled spring water,
available everywhere. Go easy on tea and coffee,
which can contribute to dehydration and sleeplessness,
and can aggravate digestive
problems. If you use alcoholic
beverages, do so sparingly,
if at all. Alcohol increases the risk
of dehydration and stomach upset.
the big E sign for an Eczane
Every Turkish city and town
has pharmacies/chemists (eczane, EDJ-zah-NEH)
where you can buy medicines,
medical aids and equipment, including
such items as soaps, bandages, toothpaste
and condoms (prezervatif).
Although a doctor's prescription is
obviously best, it is often not
In fact, pharmacists/chemists (usually
both male and female in
attendance) will often recommend specific
medicines for simple maladies if you
tell them your symptoms.
Prices for medicines
are government controlled, and therefore
usually low to moderate.
On Sundays and holidays, one or more eczane in
a city will open as nöbetçi
edj-zah-neh-see, duty pharmacy/chemist)
because illness knows no holiday. Signs
in the windows of closed pharmacies/chemists'
give the addresses of the nöbetçi
ezcanesi's, but the open shops
may be quite a distance from where
you are, so you may need help finding
All Turkish cities, especially provincial
capitals, have hospitals (hastane),
and towns have clinics (klinik, sağlık
often with staff who speak at least some
English. Besides government hospitals (devlet
there are now
and specialty hospitals that
are often of high
quality and up-to-date.
Some specialize in "medical
tourism," that is,
travel to obtain elective
medical procedures that
may be less expensive or available
more readily in Turkey than in your
Beware of High Prices at Private Hospitals
However, I've received information that in some cases, some private hospitals pay commissions for referrals of foreign patients, and then recoup this cost by charging foreign patients very high prices for services.
For example, you rent an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or motorbike in Cappadocia, have an accident, and need ankle surgery. The vehicle rental company, hotel or other tourism business may urge you to go to a particular private hospital for treatment. The treatment you receive may be satisfactory, but the price may be very high—as much as US$15,000—and payable in cash immediately.
Locals in Cappadocia tell me that the government hospital (Devlet Hastanesi) provides very good treatment at much lower rates—rates which may be less subject to reimbursement delay or rejection by your home country medical insurance organization.
In an emergency, you may need to go to the nearest hospital, but if you are able, it's best to ask about prices for treatment before committing to it.
country's consulate may
be able to help with reliable references and
recommendations for medical services.
—by Tom Brosnahan