Health Advice for Denmark

Countries  »  Denmark  »  Health Advice

Health Advice for Denmark

Health services in Denmark are of a high standard, although waiting times at emergency rooms can be quite long for non emergencies, since visitors are prioritized according to their situation. Except for surgical procedures there is no private healthcare system to speak of, all is taken care of by the public healthcare system and general practitioners. All visitors are provided with free emergency care, until you are deemed healthy enough to be transported back to your home country. Citizens from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and certain British dependencies are all entitled to additional basic medical services during their stay, other nationalities should have a valid travel insurance for transportation home and any additional medical care needed after any emergency is dealt with, as this is not provided free of charge. As in the rest of the country, English speakers should not have any trouble communicating with staff in English.

One thing worth noting for several nationalities, is that Danish doctors don't strew out prescriptions or pills out at the rate common in North America, Japan and Southern Europe. There is a general trend of letting the body's own immune system take care of diseases, rather than using medicines. So if you show up at the local GP with minor illnesses like the common flu, expect to be send back to your bed to rest, rather than receiving any treatment, if you are otherwise of good health. Pharmacies (Danish: Apotek) are usually well stocked, but brand names may differ from those in your own country. Staff is highly trained, and major cities usually have one 24 hour pharmacy. Many drugs that are prescription-free in other countries, require prescription in Denmark, which is not trivial to get (see above), and medicines available in supermarkets and drug stores are very limited; i.e. allergy drugs and light painkillers; Paracetamol based (Panodil, Pamol & Pinex), acetylsalicylic based (Treo, Kodimagnyl & Aspirin) and Ibuprofen based (Ipren)

Dentists are only partly covered by the public healthcare system, and everyone, including Danes pay to visit their dentist. Danes and other Nordic citizens have some of the expenses covered by the public healthcare system, while non Scandinavian visitors, should generally be prepared to foot the entire bill themselves, or forward the expenses to their insurance company. Prices are notoriously high compared to the neighbouring countries, so unless it is urgent to see a dentist, it will probably be more economical to wait until you return home, or pass into Germany or Sweden.

Tap water is potable unless indicated. The regulations for tap water in Denmark even exceeds that of bottled water in general, so don't be offended if you notice a waiter filling a can of water at the sink. Restaurants and other places selling food are visited regularly by health inspectors and are awarded points on a 1-4 "smiley scale". The ratings must be prominently displayed, so look out for the happy face when in doubt. While pollution in the major cities can be annoying it doesn't pose any risk to non-residents. Nearly all beaches are fine for bathing - even parts of the Copenhagen harbour recently opened for bathing (read the Stay safe section).

Smoking

As of 15 August 2007 it is not legal to smoke in any indoor public space in Denmark. This includes government buildings with public access (hospitals, universities, etc), all restaurants and bars larger than 40 sq m and all public transport. Also be aware that you have to be at least 18 years old to buy cigarettes in Denmark.

Stay Safe

Generally: Denmark is a very safe country, with almost no risk of natural disasters or animal attacks (there is one rare poisonous snake, the European viper (Hugorm), as well as the fish called "Fjæsing", but its bite is not generally lethal. Its bite, however, is strong enough to be lethal to children and the elderly, so medical treatment is always encouraged). Compared to most other countries crime and traffic are only minor risks, and most crime visitors are likely to encounter is non violent pickpocketing.

  • On foot in cities Danes drive by the rules, and they have every expectation that pedestrians do the same. Therefore, it is important to obey Walk/Don't Walk signals and avoid jaywalking in cities, simply because cars will not slow down since you're not supposed to be there. Also, take good notice of the dedicated bike lanes when crossing any street to avoid dangerous situations as bikers tend to ride fast and have right of way on these lanes.
  • On the beach: Don't bathe alone. Don't get too far away from land. Swim along the coast rather than away from it. In some areas undertow is a danger, and kills a number of tourists every year, but will mostly be signed at the beach. On many beaches, flags inform of water quality. A blue flag means excellent water quality, green flag means good water quality, red flag means that bathing is not advised. A sign with the text "Badning forbudt" means that bathing is forbidden. Obey these signs, as it often means that the water is polluted with poisonous algae, bacteria, or chemicals, or that there is a dangerous undertow.
  • In the city: A few districts in major cities are probably best avoided at night by the unwary, or by lone women - but reverse of the trends in North America, it is often the ghettos in the suburbs that are unsafe, rather than the downtown areas.

In an emergency dial 112 (medical help/fire brigade/police). This is toll free, and will work even from cell phones even if they have no SIM card. For the police in not-emergencies call 114.

The content on this page is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. It has been written by the users of WikiTravel and gapyear.com cannot not accept any responsibility for its accuracy. For any critical information you require, please be sure to check with the relevant embassy for the most up to date information before you travel.