France 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 France 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
This being France, the only real problems posed by the local food and drink are mild stomach complaints resulting from overindulgence. Tap water is safe to drink (although you'll find a huge amount of bottled water for sale too) and cooked food, assuming it's come from a hygienic kitchen, is certainly no riskier to consume than that of any developed country. Some travellers steer clear of unpasteurised dairy products due to a perceived risk of disease, while others laud the same products for their perceived health benefits. If you're at all unsure, it's probably best to stick to what you're used to.
Visitors to forested areas should consider vaccination for tick-borne encephalitis.
In more universal terms, sunburn is perhaps the most common complaint among visitors to France, particularly over the summer months – temperatures are generally higher in the south but it's wise to be cautious across the country. The usual precautions apply: use a generous amount of sunscreen and be sensible about how long you spend in direct sunlight. Be aware that a breezy day can sometimes mask high temperatures.
If walking over a long distance in warm weather, it's advisable to carry and drink plenty of water and to wear appropriate clothing, including a sun hat. 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.
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