Spain Health Care and Vaccinations
With a night spent in intensive care could cost €1,200 to €1,600, 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.
In case of an emergency, call the Spanish emergency services at 112. This number should be dialled when you urgently require medical assistance or in case of fire or crime. You can dial the number from any public telephone booth, which is easily available in most Spanish cities and towns. However, keep in mind that the Spanish emergency services staff may not speak English, although some do. It is therefore useful to learn basics of the language like numbers and commonly used phrases. In such scenarios, try to be patient and speak as clearly as possible. Alternatively, look for help on the streets or in nearby shops.
Other numbers that you should take note of in case of emergency are:
• Ambulance service – 061
• Fire service – 080
• Police – 091 or 092 for local police
• Duty pharmacies – 010
If you are in dire need to get to the hospital, ask for a ride from people on the streets. Note that by law Spanish, it is obligatory for taxi drivers to transport medical emergencies to hospital when asked to do so. Any driver can also convert his vehicle into an ambulance in case of emergency. To do so, switch on the hazard lights of your vehicle and wave a white piece of cloth from the window to signal urgency. Misuse of this system will result in a heavy fine.
Food and Drink
Food in Spain is generally safe to eat. Most restaurants and bars adhere to a certain standard of hygiene. For those with sensitive stomachs, try to avoid street food, such as churros or pinchitos (kebab) which are usually sold in small street-side stores especially in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Other foods to look out for include seafood that might not be fresh and sandwiches and omelettes that might have been left out for too long. Tapas bars may sometimes serve foods that have been kept overnight, so be careful what you eat.
Foods sold in local markets are generally fresh and affordable. If you're extremely careful about what you eat, these are the best places to look for clean and fresh produce. Tap water in Spain is safe to drink but some complain that tap water in Ibiza can be quite salty. Bottled and mineral water are easily available throughout the country and can be found in supermarkets and grocery stores.
In mid-summer temperatures can reach over 40°C (104°F) and heat-related risks are high. Be sure to drink plenty of water, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, wear strong sunscreen and cover your skin with a hat and loose clothing. If partaking in hiking, cycling or other outdoor activities, avoid the midday hours and limit exercise to early mornings or late evenings.
On islands such as Ibiza be aware that alcohol and drugs are prevalent. Stay hydrated when consuming alcohol and be aware that spirit measurements are generous. Taking drugs is illegal and drug dealing is dealt with very severely by the local police and courts.
In Mallorca, waves of jellyfish can make an appearance in summer, and while these are not deadly, they can give a very painful sting.
For those who wish to report a crime such as theft or lost property, the number to call is 092 (local police).
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