Health in France
- Good medical care service in most cities
- Excellent facilities and medical professionals
- Health Insurance recommended for all types of stays
A United Nations report issued a few years ago rated French healthcare as the best system in the world.
If you fall ill in France, but it is not an emergency, you would have to go and see a general practitioner, or generalist in French. If you need a doctor after hours or on weekends, you will have to see a doctor on call, or a médecin de garde in French. To do this you must call the SAMU, the French emergency medical services.
French pharmacies are easily recognizable by the green neon cross and they can be found anywhere, even the smallest towns or villages.
There are no inoculations or vaccinations officially needed to enter France and in general, there are no major health risks for travelers visiting the country. Even so, there are some vaccinations that are recommended for all travelers:
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Northern, Southern and Western Europe, including Italy and Greece are relatively low risk areas.
- Hepatitis B. This is recommendable if there is a chance you may come into contact with blood (health care workers), have sexual encounters with the local population, and plan to stay for a period of over 6 months or possibly be exposed during medical treatment.
Be sure to see your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before leaving for your trip, giving the vaccines time to take effect.
Health Safety Tips
- Be sure to wash hands often using soap and water.
- Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products.
- Be sure to read up on Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).
- When driving, be sure to use a safety belt and be alert at all times. Avoid driving at night whenever possible.
- Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Don't share needles with anyone.
Applicants who are European Union nationals may, during their stay of not more than twelve months, continue receiving health insurance benefits of their home country's health insurance. Evidence of membership to a health plan is obtained through the E109 or E111 form, which is issued in the home country and is acknowledged by other health insurance organizations which also issue an insurance certificate.
Non-European citizens should be sure to arrange medical insurance that will cover them in the event of illness or an accident while on their trip in France. It is important to be fully insured before leaving for your trip.