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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Sweden

the fp is health

Sweden Health Care and Vaccinations

Title Special precautions
Diphtheria No
Hepatitis A No
Malaria No
Rabies No
Tetanus Yes
Typhoid No
Yellow Fever No

The World Health Organisation [WHO] recommends that all travellers should be inoculated for measles, mumps, diphtheria, rubella, tetanus and polio regardless of the destination.

Health Care

Sweden, like the rest of the Scandinavian bloc, benefits from excellent public healthcare programmes. Clinics and hospitals are clean and safe, and the quality of care provided is usually exemplary. Urgent cases (emergencies) are prioritised and are usually treated immediately, while the Swedish national guarantee of care states that patients with non-urgent health concerns should be able to get an appointment with a GP within three days of contacting the clinic.

As in the UK and other European countries with a nationalised healthcare system, not everything is free and prescriptions can be extremely expensive. EU nationals are charged between 100 and SEK 300 for a doctor's visit. American and Canadian citizens will find it especially steep with most prescriptions coming in at around SEK500 (80 US dollars). While British and other European travellers will also have to meet these prescription costs, if you are suddenly taken ill or involved in an accident during a visit to Sweden, free or reduced-cost necessary treatment is available, EEA and Swiss citizens are entitled to free medical care (prescriptions apart), but proof of entitlement is usually required. Such proof takes the form of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which replaced the E111 form in 2006. Travellers from other countries should find out if they are covered by other reciprocal arrangements. Australia, for example, has such an agreement as long as long as citizens carry their Medicare card. Comprehensive insurance is advised for all other nationals.

Food and Drink

Food in Sweden is safe to eat although care should be taken when purchasing food from roadside stalls. In most cases, Swedish food tends to be safer than that produced in other countries, thanks to the Swedish National Food Administration’s tough rules on pesticides and additives. Sweden also enforces tough rules on misleading food marketing claims, which means – provided you can translate the Swedish text – that you shouldn’t get any nasty surprises when picking up food in supermarkets. Tap water is also safe, although drinking from streams, lakes and rivers – however clean they look – isn’t recommended as even the most inviting-looking water can harbour parasites. Water that has been boiled or treated with iodine or chlorine tablets is usually safe to drink.

Other Risks

The World Health Organisation recommends vaccination for tick-borne encephalitis regardless of the destination. If you intend to participate in winter sports, make sure your travel insurance policy covers it as many will refuse to pay out should you take ‘unnecessary risks’ – under which heading come many of the country’s most popular winter sports; skiing and snowboarding included. While Sweden’s mild summers pose little risk for outdoor adventure enthusiasts, its arctic winters are a different story. With temperatures regularly dipping below zero (to as low as -30ºC/-22ºF in northern regions), care needs to be taken when participating in outdoor sports during the colder months. Extra layers, including thick woollen hats and gloves, are essential and it’s also worth carrying a small supply of food and fluids should you get into trouble.

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