Hippocrates - the ancient trailblazer of medical treatment and figurehead of Modern Medicine
As an historical footnote, the origins of modern medicine and the Hippocratic oath, that requires all new doctors to swear by to maintain exacting standards of medical practice, are all down, ostensibly, to the ancient Greeks. In ancient times Greek medical care and physicians were considered the best available, and for centuries ancient Rome revered the Greek doctors and paid their Hellenic physicians handsomely for their services. Hippocrates, the father of ancient medicine, who laid down the seminal rudiments of medical practice, was one of the greatest of all ancient Greek figures. His work inspired countless generations of doctors over hundreds of years to build on his leading aspirations.
Medical facilities in Rhodes
Dr. Chrissa Spartali, Paediatrician
A: G. Efstathiou 8, Rhodes Town
Tel: 22410-27150 Mobile: 6972 834 389
Dr. George Tsampikakis, General Practitioner
A: Pavlou Mela 40, Rhodes Town
Dr. Ioannis Sinis, General Practitioner
A: 28th October 2, Rhodes Town
Tel: 22410-34895, mobile: 6944372233
Dr. Nikos Karvouniaris, General Practitioner
Tel 22440-31224, mobile: 6974812152
Manolis Simiakos / Roula Kourouna-Simiakou, Dental Practitioners
A: 16 28th October Street, Rhodes Town
Dr Stefanos Tolios, Dentist
13 Ierou Lohou St, Rhodes Town (near Hotel Plaza)
Tel. 22410 24544, Fax 22410 31212, Emergency mobile phone 6944775787
We accept emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. English, Italian, French, German, Scandinavian, Ethiopian spoken
Much of the medical provision in Greece is perfectly adequate, although a few areas do lag behind what many visitors would consider as the basic standards. But to be fair, Greece has made enormous inroads in improving its medical infrastructure in recent years. Certainly, make sure you are fully insured for any medical emergency, and that the insurance company (ring them to check if unsure) will actually allow you to use private medical providers in Greece, in any circumstance. There have been some cases where an insurance company has either refused or have attempted to limit their liability for large medical bills by claiming the claimant should have tried to use the reciprocal Greek national health service (which has never been ALL free – you have to pay for some services).
Always take your European, reciprocal health card (the EHIC – obtainable from the NHS via your doctor’s surgery). This will avail you of some basic free treatments, but once again, you must have private health insurance. Don’t ever consider leaving the UK without full cover – the risks are that you could be left with huge medical bills. It has happened and will continue to happen because some people refuse to do the wise and right thing.
If you are a committed walker/trekker, you might like to consider being vaccinated against the tick borne, and potentially fatal, encephalitis (a vicious brain disease) which is prevalent in many heavily wooded areas in Greece.Frankly, you'd be a fool not to have the vaccination.
Exceptional Health Requirements
Anyone arriving from an area of infection will require a certificate to prove they are not carriers or infected, especially from a place where there has been a Yellow Fever outbreak. Any outbreak of a serious illness liable to cause a plague requires a certificate.
Food and Water
Food and water are all generally safe, although for visitors paying a flying visit, bottled water is a better option. Remember, a change of diet and different kinds of tap water can cause a tummy upset that has nothing to do with bacteria.
Sunburn can ruin a holiday and even lead to hospital treatment and emergency repatriation. Never fail to take precautions, especially if fair skinned, when a sun block may be required. Keep in the shade and take with you (this works beautifully) a small telescopic umbrella (any colour although black is best). Use this when you think your head is about to fry in exposed areas. It will save you from sunstroke during those fiery hot Greek summers.
Mild sunburn is not usually a problem – just use cooling gel, especially those that contain pure lavender oil which is both cooling and healing (and smells great). Otherwise a proprietary brand of after sun will suffice.
Moderate sunburn can be painful and uncomfortable. This is the best method to combat this condition:
Severe sunburn is potentially dangerous and may include possible sunstroke. Call for medical help or take the patient to the nearest hospital for medical attention. This is an urgent requirement. In the meantime, apply just the aspirin solution and give the patient two aspirin dissolved in water to drink. This should alleviate the symptoms in some way and tell the doctor what they have taken.
Malaria is not a problem in Greece, but mosquitoes are a ruddy pain in the backside; is what most people think. Few things are more unpleasant than being bombarded by kamikaze bugs that double up as vampires. Always take a mosquito repellent with you in case the shops are closed when you arrive and the hungry hordes are waiting for you.
The best products are always the ones made from natural (the stuff nature makes for a good reason) extracts. ‘Mosiguard’ is my choice and is based on an extract of the bilberry shrub, which insects absolutely loath – and so it acts as an ideal deterrent. And it has no side-effects. Deet however, controversially, does have side effects, in my opinion, and I would never recommend it to anyone.
Another one is a do-it-yourself mixture of lavender and citronella oils. Take 100mls of grape seed oil and add ten drops each of the two oils and mix well. Pour into a small plastic bottle and rub over your exposed skin to deter all insects. Re-apply every two hours. You could make up as much as you think you might need - 300ml, per person, should last a week in a heavily infested area.
Mosquito bites can be highly itchy and you will need a good insect bite cream, and in severe cases a small amount of Hydro-cortisone Cream (all chemists sell it), applied no more than three times a day for two days, can give real relief and reduce the swelling. Also apply tea tree cream as well (Nelsons brand is excellent) which will promote healing and help to kill any infection which might erupt. For severe bites where the swelling is considerable, rub in a few drops of neat tea tree oil to prevent serious infection from growing. In any event, if it looks very bad and you feel lousy – consult a doctor immediately.
For a natural deterrent, go here:
For tea tree and lavender oil, as well as Cinnamon tincture, try here:
Gourmets say that best thing to do with a sea urchin, if you see one in your path, is to split it in half, sprinkle with lemon juice and eat it. But wear special gloves. Actually, if it is ever on the menu, try it – it’s actually very tasty indeed.
However, never, especially amongst rocky outcrops, wade into the water without wearing some kind of water shoes. These will effectively stop the dreaded sea urchin from stabbing you with its vicious barbs, which are hell to remove because they are designed to stay put. Recently a tourist actually died from blood poisoning via a sea urchin he stepped on. So be warned – never leave your feet exposed. It is also difficult to remove the painful barbs. If affected, rub olive oil around the entry and try to ease it out. If this is too painful, you should seek medical assistance anyway. One of the ways to keep the wound clear of infection is to massage the puncture with neat tea tree oil (available all over the place in the UK and in other countries and useful for all bites as well), even after medical treatment. If there is any sign of swelling and painful discolouration, go back to the doctor and tell them you think you have an infection – and if you are fairly certain this is the case, insist on extra treatment. Blood poisoning is not only dangerous it can ruin your entire holiday.
It is rare for people to catch rabies in Greece. But never take a risk and if you are bitten by any mammal, seek medical help as soon as is possible. You must then be checked for rabies and even if it is negative, you will be put on a course of medication to ensure you do not develop it. These are usually in the form of a series of invasive injections into the major muscles and are absolutely vital. Rabies is a particularly terrible illness and is usually fatal after a long and excruciating downward spiral. Also, if you come into contact with any animal’s saliva, wash your hands thoroughly. I always carry a small pocket-sized container of antibacterial hand cleanser – this should do the job nicely, although try not to touch them in the first place. A footnote is that the vast majority of Greek animals are rabies-free.
Food poisoning is very rare in Greece since they have very strict health laws and food kitchens are heavily legislated - this reflects the national importance of tourism. Also, food poisoning can take up to 5 days to show itself as the body attempts to fight it off. So unless you have hard evidence, never assume a particular establishment was the cause of it. Often it may be impossible to actually pin-down exactly where you caught the bug unless you have food samples and had your stool samples checked. Food poisoning is potentially life-threatening in a hot country, so always take some rehydration salts (at least 10 sachets - follow the instructions) and sip water constantly . Another useful cure is extract of cinnamon (cinnamonium), commonly taken in the form of a tincture, available from Baldwins on-line herbalist. This knocks out even the salmonella bacterium - and it works beautifully. If you have it bad, always seek medical help - do not take a chance if someone becomes very poorly - and try to get water into them.