Health Advice for Russia

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Health Advice for Russia

Medical facilities in general vary. A majority of hospitals are extremely well equipped, clean, and possess all of the latest technologies, while there are some that are well below western standards, with shortages in medication and neglected equipment.

Ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date, and you have sufficient amounts of any prescription medicine you may be taking. Pharmacies are common in major cities and carry quality western medications.

Quality of tap water varies around the country, and may even be variable within cities. In old buildings tap water can be non-potable. In the big cities of European Russia, the water is clean of biological contaminants, but often suffers from the presence of heavy metals, due to outdated city plumbing. If you can't buy bottled water, boil water before drinking, or better yet use a special filter for tap water, which you could buy in any supermarket. Bottled water costs only about 20-30 rubles ($0.8-$1.1 USD) for 2 liters, but watch out for refilled bottles being sold.

Besides local doctors (generally good quality but often working in poor facilities) there are several Western-run medical centers in major Russian cities. These all have different policies for payment (some take credit cards, some require payment in cash up front, even if you have insurance) so make sure you know what you are paying for (and when and how) before you agree to any services.

Be careful not to buy fake vodka, which can be dangerous (seriously here, 'dangerous' doesn't mean 'strong'; it can contain methanol). Only buy vodka in large stores or specialized ones like Aromatnyi Mir in Moscow, with the sticker over the cap and/or the region's barcode on the side.

Significant number of food stores, including some food/goods chains, standalone food shops, kiosks and food markets are rumourously famous for selling food of bad quality, including out-of-date or even out-of-date with expire date reprinted with a later date. Although most of them are quite good. When possible, check the quality of the food with visual observation, don't especially trust expire date labels, that are added in a replaceable way. Also you can take note of what others are buying, sometimes you can even ask other buyers which product is better, it's considered normal. That could help you make a good choice. Examples of usually bad quality food sold are most of fish products, including smoked and spicy salted (be especially care), pre-made salads, fresh vegetables and fruits, when you can't handpick them (at markets check them after shop-women picked them for you, you can usually change those you don't like, at shops they usually don't allow to change, and use to add some bad ones into bag), vegetables conservatives sold with discount (and with older production date usually), cheaper dairy products, though less consistent, checking what others buy may help you here. Cheaper juices often come diluted with water, the rule of thumb is buying those with "Сад" (Sad/Garden) word in the name. If you are unsure, don't buy it, or if already bought, just throw it away.

The country's HIV prevalence is steadily rising, mainly for prostitutes, young adults and drug users. Be safe.

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