Belgium Health Care and Vaccinations
Travel insurance is advised for all visitors. In some medical cases, if you are European, you might be able to receive free treatment if you can show proof of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) obtained in your country of origin.
The overall standards of healthcare in Belgium are excellent. Hospitals and surgeries are well equipped and staff are proficient. In pharmacies, over-the-counter advice is given and standard medicines are sold.
Food and Drink
Restaurants and cafés adhere to the highest standards of food preparation − even the famous fritkot chip stands are well maintained. The tap water is potable, but locals do prefer to buy Spa − the local bottled variety available in still and sparkling. Eating mussels is often a concern for travellers, but it’s very rare to contract food poisoning or stomach complaints after eating a pot.
If walking in long grass check yourself for ticks afterwards; they may carry Lyme disease which manifests as a rash, fever, headache and painful muscles. If you think you’ve been bitten, seek medical advice immediately.
If you’re cycling long distances, or hiking in the Ardennes, in warm weather, it’s advisable to drink – and carry – plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing. Blisters can be another problem for hikers. These can often occur if new walking shoes are being worn across a long distance. Ideally footwear should be worn in before the trip.
If you’re spending time on the coast in summer, be sensible about how long you spend in direct sunlight. It’s often windy along the long stretches of beach and the breeze can sometimes mask high temperatures. The usual precautions apply: use a generous amount of sunscreen and wear a hat.
There have been incidences of pick-pocketing in large markets, and around Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid train station, as well as the European Union district. In these areas, keep your handbag zipped up, a wallet in a jacket pocket rather than your back pocket, and only take small amounts of cash with you.