Travellers to Italy haven’t much to worry about, health-wise. The country is clean, safe, and epidemic-free – in fact, you may end up a lot fitter than you were when you arrived, given the general healthiness of the Italian diet and lifestyle! But promise me that you don’t overdo with Italian food! 🙂
However, it’s always just as well to be prepared for all eventualities, so here are a few pointers in the event that you do need to seek healthcare while in Italy.
Health information in Italy: tips if you travel with a pet
Italy is a healthy country, so you won’t need any extra jabs to get there – although it’s always advisable to have the World Health Organization standard vaccinations for tetanus, diptheria, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and polio wherever you are travelling in the world!
If you’re planning to do a lot of outdoor activities and especially if you’r visiting Alpine regions with a dog, then your pets must get a rabies shot before arrival. Vaccine must be registered on pet’s passport by your vet and shown in case of ranger request.
If your destination is instead the coastal area and the South of Italy be careful to leishmaniasis: a terrible illness that comes from an insect bite. To protect your 4 paws friends to this sort of mosquito, called “pappatacio“, you can keep them indoors from dusk to dawn and apply a specific insect repellent or dog collar.
Hospitals and Pharmacies health information in Italy
Italy’s healthcare system is generally skilled and efficient. It has been ranked 2nd best in the world by the WHO, after France. The emergency ambulance number in Italy is 118. Hospitals tend to be better in the North than the South, but even the worst of Italian hospitals are really very good. Italy’s healthcare system is state-funded, which means that it has an obligation to provide emergency healthcare to anyone. You will probably have to pay this back (although, with hospitals unused to taking money from patients, it’s not unusual for foreign patients to just walk out without ever being asked for payment details) so it’s worth getting insurance to cover any emergencies – but if you are coming from an EU country you may be entitled to cost-reduced or perhaps even free healthcare if you have a European Health Insurance Card.
Pharmacies within Italy are prolific, and pharmacists astoundingly knowledgeable. Nor is their English too bad either, particularly in major cities. In general, pharmacies have the same opening trends as the shops around them, but some do open throughout the night on a rotating basis. If a pharmacy is closed, it should display a list of open ones nearby. Alternatively, a local newspaper will tell you where to find an emergency hours pharmacist.
Food and Drink health information in Italy
The only thing likely to leave you feeling sick in Italy is stuffing your face with too much good food and wine! Admittedly an abrupt change in diet can upset some tummies, but the strict food safety standards of the EU should ensure that this will simply be a matter of your own digestion adjusting and not due to microbes in the comestibles.
The water in Italy is also perfectly safe to drink – unless you are on a train. Should tap water be unsafe to drink, it will be marked “Acqua non potabile“, with a fairly clear picture for those unfamiliar with Italian. If you’re really worried that the unfamiliar water may react badly with your digestive system then use bottled water, but this depends upon the delicacy of your own internal engineering!
Useful phrases and vocab for your travel to Italy health information in Italy
Hospital – Ospedale
Pharmacy – Farmacie
Casualty/ER – Pronto Soccorso
Help! – Aiuto!
I need a doctor immediately! – Ho bisogno di un dottore subito!
Call an ambulance! – Chiamate un’ambulanza!
I feel unwell – No mi sento bene
I feel sick – Mi sento male
I have tummy ache – Ho mal di stomaco
I have a headache – Ho mal di testa
I feel dizzy – Ho la vertigini
Can you give me something for the pain? – Puo’ darmi qualcosa per il dolore?
I have been sick – Sono stato male
An insect bit me – Un insetto mi ha punto
I have a rash here – Ho un sfogo qui
I’m allergic to… – Sono allergico a…
I have toothache – Ho mal di denti
I would like some plasters/band aids, please – Per favore, avrei bisogno di cerotti
I do not have health insurance – Non ho l’assicurazione sanitaria
Here are my insurance documents – Ecco i miei documenti dell’assicurazione