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Shots and Medications
Standards of health in the Netherlands are generally very good. You won't need any immunizations and you are unlikely to get sick. Older visitors, however, may wish to consider immunization against influenza if traveling over the winter months. If you do fall ill, you've picked the right place, as Dutch health care is generally acknowledged to be one of the best in the world.
Specific Issues in Amsterdam and the Netherlands
While you are traveling in the Netherlands, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta recommends that you observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States. The main Dutch health bureau is the GGD, which stands for Gemeentelijke Gezondheidsdienst (Communal Medical Health Service). English-speaking medical help is easy to find. Most doctors have a good English vocabulary and are familiar with English medical terms. Drogists (drugstores) sell toiletries and nonprescription drugs. For prescription drugs, go to an apotheek (pharmacy).
National Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (800/232-4636 international travelers' health line. www.cdc.gov/travel.)
World Health Organization (www.who.int.)
You will find most standard over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin and acetaminophen, in the drogisterij (drugstore). You will have difficulty finding antihistamines and cold medications, like Sudafed, without a prescription.
Medical Care in Holland
GGD Nederland. For inquiries about medical care, contact the national health service agency: GGD Nederland. Nieuwe Achtergracht 100, Amsterdam, 1018 WT. 020/555-5911. www.ggd.nl.
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