It’s always sensible to see your doctor at least 6 weeks before going to any country to make sure you have the right vaccinations. There are some vaccinations for Turkey which everyone needs, and others which only certain groups should get.
The other important things to remember before heading to Turkey is to apply for your Visa for Turkey (if you need one) and take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers medical bills.
The online Turkey eVisa application only takes a few minutes complete and involves answering a series of basic questions, including a section regarding health.
Vaccinations for Turkey for All Travelers
- Routine vaccinations: Travelers should make sure they’re up-to-date on routine vaccinations before any trip. These vaccines include the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccines, the chickenpox (varicella), vaccine, and the polio vaccine.
- Measles: Children aged 6-11 months should have 1 dose of th measles vaccines. Children 12 months or older should have 2 doses, separated by 28 days. 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are almost 100% effective at preventing measles.
Turkey Vaccinations for Most Travelers
- Hepatitis A: This is recommended as you can catch hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Turkey regardless of where you are staying.
- Typhoid: You can catch typhoid through contaminated food and water in Turkey. This risk is greater if you’re visiting smaller places or rural areas.
- Hepatitis B: Visitors can catch hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles. It is recommended to get this vaccine if you’re likely to have sex with a new partner or plan to get a piercing or tattoo.
- Rabies: Rabies is found in a range of animals including dogs. The vaccine is recommended for the following groups: travelers involved in outdoor activities (such as hiking and camping), people working around animals, children (as they tend to play with animals), and people planning long trips to Turkey.
Healthcare in Turkey
Turkey’s healthcare system has greatly improved over recent decades but it still doesn’t have a state-funded general practitioner system. However, there is an extensive private sector which includes hospitals and dentists which, in the big cities, match standards in Western Europe and the US.
Travelers should take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover any emergency medical costs which can be very expensive.
Food and Drink
- Tap water is chlorinated in towns and cities but drinking bottled mineral water is advised.
- Milk is pasteurised and safe to drink.
- Meat and fish: only eat well-cooked meat and fish and be wary of street food.
- Always carry water: especially in the summer months, to avoid dehydration.