Health and Emergencies in Greece

Emergency Phone Numbers

In order to get help in Greece during emergencies you can call one of the following numbers which respond at all hours and in all languages:

Here is a page with the Emergency telephone numbers in Greece you can print and take with you
Use the OTE white pages for the complete list of phone numbers

General Information

Greece has socialized medicine so health care is inexpensive and readily available. There are three kinds of medical facilities: The large cities have the largest and best equipped hospitals, while smaller city hospitals are adequate for emergency situations. Smaller towns and villages have medical centers adequate for advice and first aid in case of emergencies.

In all Greek hospitals, outpatient services are offered in the morning by appointment (which you can make the same day) with the different specialists. The outpatient offices tend to be crowded and the appointments almost always run late. If you are dealing with an emergency, go directly to the emergency room.

For simple medical issues you can visit private doctors in just about every town in Greece. Ask at a pharmacy to recommend the nearest one. Most doctors speak adequate English so communication should not be a problem. Private doctor visits range in price, but in 2009 it was around 25 Euro. If further lab tests are needed, the doctor would recommend a private lab nearby. Private labs are also crowded and their prices vary.

From our experience, the medical care in every facility in Greece is very competent and the doctors excellent. However the service varies depending on the time of day or how busy the hospital is at any given time.

Pharmacies in Greece

Pharmacies in Greece would also be able to provide first aid for simple matters, and would give competent advice. Pharmacies are recognized through a "Green Cross" emblem and they are open during normal business hours (8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM) If you need medicine during the night or weekends you can find which pharmacy is open by checking the schedule which is posted on every pharmacy door. The list is written in Greek so you might want to enlist the help of a friendly local who speaks your language. Most staff in the pharmacies speak English, and the medicines are of the same quality as in other western countries.

Insect Bites

Insect bites, especially mosquito bites, are the most common health problem we have encountered. While the bites themselves pose no danger, they can be uncomfortable for children and adults alike. In certain areas of Greece it is impossible to be outdoors in early evening when mosquitoes are most active. Insect repellant is a good way to save yourself from being "eaten alive" while your try to enjoy your meal, and our back-pack always contains a tube of an "over the counter" medicine to relieve discomfort for bites.

If you travel with children

Greece is a great place to visit with children. I travel with my two young daughters to Greece every summer and we have a great time. Occasionally, we have to pay the doctor or the hospital a visit due to the common cold, skin abrasions, insect bites, or even jelly fish encounters.

Visiting the nearest emergency room is the best recourse during an emergency. Every major city has an emergency room where they would provide first aid.

Heading for a hospital during an non-emergency illness might not be the best option since emergency rooms are usually crowded, and the wait can be long. Outpatient offices in Greek hospitals can be frustratingly crowded and disorganized, besides being open only during the morning hours.

For simple and common illness it might be best to visit a private doctor in the nearest city. The visit would cost a bit more (about 25 euro in 2009), but the service is excellent and fast. Ask at a pharmacy or the locals for the best doctor in town and they will point you the right way. Most doctors speak English or another language so communication should not be a problem, just make sure you call though before you show up. It is a good idea to present the doctor with any medication the patient might be taking, and the list of vaccinations the child has received.

There is a large children's hospital in Athens, and one in Patra that specializes in children's health matters. Both hospitals receive the bulk of serious illness cases from the entire country, and their medical personnel is as experienced as it gets.

I would recommend having insurance that would cover you even on vacation. Check with your insurance before you fly to Greece to find out if it would cover any medical expenses abroad. Most insurance companies have a policy.

Travel Insurance Requirement

According to the Greek Consulate of New York web site, every visitor who travels to Greece on a tourist visa must have travel insurance.

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