Children and Infants in Corfu
- The European Health Insurance Card (or EHIC) is issued free of charge and allows anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security scheme of the EEA countries and Switzerland to receive medical treatment in another member state for free or at a reduced cost, if that treatment becomes necessary during their visit (for example, due to illness or an accident), or if they have a chronic pre-existing condition which requires care such as kidney dialysis. The intention of the scheme is to allow people to continue their stay in a country without having to return home for medical care; as such, it does not cover people who have visited a country for the purpose of obtaining medical care, nor does it cover care, such as many types of dental treatment, which can be delayed until the visitor returns home. NOTE: It only covers healthcare which is normally covered by a statutory health care system in the visited country, so it does not render travel insurance obsolete.
- Emergency treatment is free to all nationalities in public hospitals. In an emergency dial 166.
- Pharmacies can dispense medicines available only on prescription in most European countries, so it's possible to consult a pharmacist in the event of a minor ailment.
- All this sounds fine, but although medical and surgical treatment is of a very high standard in Greece, the health service is badly under-funded, and nursing care is not up to UK conditions. Hospitals are overcrowded and relatives are expected to bring in food and even clean bedding for the patient - which obviously could be a problem for a tourist. Conditions are better in private hospitals, but these are expensive. All this means that a good health-insurance policy is essential.
- Always take care what you eat and drink. Stomach upsets may affect travellers, but usually in a very minor way. At your accommodation, take simple precautions like washing or peeling fruit and vegetables, just as you would at home. Tap water is completely safe to drink in Corfu, but most people prefer bottled water because of the taste.
- In hot weather make sure to drink enough, so carry a bottle of water with you. Be careful of exposure to the sun - you can get sunburnt surprisingly quickly, even through cloud. Use sunscreen, sun block for lips and noses, and wear a hat. Remember to protect your eyes with good quality sunglasses.
- Avoid insect bites, especially in the evening, by applying insect repellants and by covering exposed flesh. Screen windows, and use a mosquito net if possible. You'll frequently find small electric devices in your room that heat a tablet to repel mosquitoes. These are very effective, but if you use them, try to position close to an open window or door, as breathing in the vapour all night may give you a headache.
- Corfu Hospital is usually full of people whose holidays have been involuntarily curtailed due to falling off bikes and scooters, often through no fault of their own. If you rent a bike or scooter wear strong trousers, a good jacket and proper shoes. Just imagine the result of sliding along a gritty road in only a pair of shorts and flip-flops. By law, all renters must provide a crash helmet. Wear it.
- Be aware that there can be strong currents around the island, especially on the west coast. Always supervise children in the sea and obey any warning flags on the beaches.
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