Health Advice for Bulgaria

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Health Advice for Bulgaria

As a generally rich country in Europe, it's best to say that health standards are developed. However, there are potential health risks, even though the government has fought the high chances of such things with a huge success. It best to stay that the greatest risk that a traveller can encounter is air pollution. People with breathing difficulties, such as asthma are at a greater risk.

Health Risks

Pollution is no better or worse than in any other European city. Health risks are the same as those in other parts of Europe, so be careful of what you eat, meaning that if you purchase fruits and vegetables , wash them prior to eating. If you are inclined to purchase food from a stand that sells fast food containing meat, know that you are taking on a health risk to yourself, because there are no health codes in those establishments.

If you are at the Black Sea, mind the strong sun at the beach, especially in July and August. Wear sunscreen and do not leave the umbrella in the first one or two days. Do not drink hard alcohol at the beach, it could give you a heart attack.

Smoking

It is sad to say that Bulgarians, much like Greeks, have a bad reputation for their smoking habits. Smoking is the national pastime, and evading the fumes of cigarettes is even more difficult than evading exhaust fumes in the streets. Effective June 1, 2012 smoking in all indoor public spaces, including bars and restaurants is banned.

Eating and Drinking

Most food is quite safe to eat. Of course, try to avoid eating at places that are obviously not too clean.

Tap water in Bulgaria is very safe to drink and natural mineral water is also cheap and widely available. Since Bulgaria is a mountainous country, natural springs are quite abundant and many villages have one or more mineral springs.

Hospitals

Conditions in Bulgarian hospitals may vary - from the very clean and sparkling, with all the latest technological utilities, to the downright drab, dark and cold. There are some new hospitals, and some very old, with old technology. Medical personnel is very good at their job.

Citizens of the European Union are covered by Bulgaria's National Healthcare System as long as they carry an Eurocard (or European Health Insurance Card), obtainable from their own national healthcare authority.

Dental procedures in private clinics in Bulgaria are of excellent quality. Many people from Western European come to Bulgaria to have their teeth done for the quarter of the price they pay in their home countries.

Stay Safe

Bulgaria is generally a safe country, and people are quite friendly. You should however behave according to common sense when you are outside of the main tourist areas, i.e. don't show too openly that you have money, don't dress too much like a tourist, watch your things, don't walk around the suburbs (esp. those of Sofia) at night, avoid dark streets at night. Stepping in a hole is a much greater danger in Bulgaria than getting robbed.

Emergency Phone Numbers

The pan-European standard number 112 for all emergency calls is working everywhere in Bulgaria since September 2008. If, for some reason, you can not connect to 112, dial 166 for police, 150 for ambulance and 160 for the fire department.

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