No vaccinations are required to visit Israel. The country has one of the world's most advanced health care systems. Most doctors at emergency clinics and hospitals in Israel speak English. Emergency and trauma care is among the best in the world.
It is safe to drink tap water and eat fresh produce after it's been washed, but take care when buying food from outdoor stands; make sure the food is hot and cooked in front of you. Imodium and Pepto-Bismol are available over the counter at every pharmacy.
Heat stroke and dehydration are real dangers if you're going to be outdoors for any length of time: a sun hat and sunblock are musts, as is plenty of bottled water (available even in the most remote places) to guard against dehydration. Take at least 1 liter per person for every hour you plan to be outside. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Most supermarkets and pharmacies carry sunscreen in a wide range of SPFs, but it is much more expensive than in the United States.
U.S. brands of mosquito repellent with DEET are available in pharmacies and supermarkets. Wear light, long-sleeved clothing and long pants particularly at dusk when mosquitoes like to attack.
Yad Sarah is a nationwide voluntary organization that lends medical equipment and accessories such as wheelchairs, crutches, and canes. There is no charge, but a contribution is expected. It's open Sunday to Thursday 8 to 7 and Friday 8 to noon. Equipment can be returned elsewhere in the country.
At the pharmacy (beit mirkachat) it is easy to find many of the same over-the-counter remedies as you would at home. Everyday pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil are widely available. Medication can be obtained from pharmacies, which are plentiful. English is spoken in the majority of pharmacies. Locally produced medication is fairly inexpensive, but expect to pay more for drugs that are imported.
The daily press publishes the addresses of pharmacies on duty at night, on Saturday, and on holidays. This information is also available from Magen David Adom. In Jerusalem, Super-Pharm Nayot is open Sunday to Thursday 8:30 am to midnight, Friday 8:30 am to 3 pm, and Saturday one hour after the Sabbath ends until midnight. Its downtown location has slightly shorter hours.
In Eilat, the Michlin Pharmacy will deliver to your hotel and is open Sunday to Thursday 8 to 2 and 4 to 8:30, Friday 8 to 3. Super-Pharm is open daily 9:30 am to 1 am. There are also pharmacies in Arad, Beersheva, and Mitzpe Ramon.
Michlin Pharmacy (11 Hatmarim St., opposite Central Bus Station, Eilat, 88000. 08/637-2434.)
Super-Pharm (5 Burla St., Nayot, Jerusalem, 93714. 02/649-7555. 3 Hahistadrut St., Downtown, 94230. 02/624-6244. Kanion Mul Yam, Eilat, 88000. 08/634-0880.)
Yad Sarah (124 Herzl Blvd., Bet Hakerem, Jerusalem, 96187. 02/644-4444. www.yadsarah.org.)
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