Healthcare in Kefalonia

The most common ailments for travellers to Kefalonia are the same ones that travellers get the world over – stomach upsets. The change of diet to food that uses a lot more oils and serves up endless oily foods inevitably leads to some rumblings down below. But give it a couple of days and most people adjust. It helps to add lemon to the oil to dilute all that oil and you should try to drink plenty of water too. However it is probably best to drink bottled water whilst on the island, as it is available everywhere at little cost and is a necessary precaution. Try to avoid any meat dishes that look like they were left over from lunch. As mentioned in the food section a lot of restaurants will do most of their cooking at lunch and then leave stuff to cool or reheat it in the evenings. If you’ve got a delicate belly you might want to order something fresh to be grilled in the evenings.

The beaches are relatively safe – the main dangers are the occasional jellyfish or sea urchin. If you do encounter a sea urchin make sure you get all the spikes out.

Should you need to get a doctor (or dentist) the best place to head to is the chemists (farmakion.) They will be able to point you to an English-speaking doctor. Similarly they can handle prescription drugs if you lose yours, or all of the minor complaints such as stomach bugs, headaches and mosquito bites.

When it comes to more serious illnesses or injuries if you come from inside Europe you will be covered by the EHIC (European health Insurance Card) which will entitle you to receive medical treatment when in another European country either for free or at a significantly reduced rate. In addition, people of all nationalities are covered in Greece when it comes to emergency treatment in a public hospital. If you find yourself in an emergency simply dial 166. Public hospitals are a mixed bag in Greece – everyone is very well trained and will offer you nothing but the best health care, but they are seriously under-funded and as a consequence their health care system is considered to be one of the worst in all of Europe. Relatives are required to bring in bed linen and food for patients and it is a good idea to have private health care via a good insurance policy if you can afford it. That said, the two main hospitals in Kefalonia are better than most in Greece; there is one in Lixouri and a larger main hospital in Argostoli. Both are excellent.