Pharmacies are called eczane in Turkish and are found all over the country. Major cities such as Istanbul and Ankara usually have a good number of 24 hour pharmacies but in general pharmacy hours can vary. Pharmacists in Turkey are knowledgeable and can diagnose illnesses, provide over the counter medication and will recommend a doctor if they feel one is required.
Regulations around buying certain medications are more relaxed in comparison to some of Turkey’s Western counterparts, with some drugs that would normally need a prescription being available over the counter.
Travellers should avoid drinking tap water and opt instead for bottled or boiled water. Using purification tablets or a filter is also recommended. Drinking from rivers or lakes is extremely dangerous, potentially resulting in vomiting or diarrhoea.
Malaria is prevalent in parts of Turkey, especially in the south eastern province of Mardin, from May through to October. Because of the warm climate, both heat exhaustion and heat stroke are also serious concerns.
Additionally, a rabies shot is recommended as Turkey has some of the highest cases of rabies in Europe. Routine vaccinations should be completed, including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, chickenpox, polio and a yearly flu shot.
Other suggested vaccines include ones for hepatitis A and typhoid.
In the event of an emergency, expats in Turkey should dial 112 to speak to an operator that can put them through to the relevant service. However, there is no guarantee that the operator will speak English.
Ambulances in Turkey are modern and fully-equipped to deal with multiple scenarios, boasting some of the health sector’s newest technology. The speed and response of the ambulance will depend on whether the service is provided by a state or private institution. The latter tends to be faster and better equipped.