Water is safe for drinking throughout Croatia. EU countries have reciprocal health-care agreements with Croatia, entitling those nationals to medical consultation for a basic minimum fee. Citizens from outside the EU have to pay in accordance with listed prices. Most doctors speak some English.
In Croatia, over-the-counter medications are sold in pharmacies, which are open until 6 or 7 pm on weekdays and 1 or 2 pm on Saturday. In each town there is usually a 24-hour pharmacy for emergencies. Most European pharmacists speak a word or two of English or German, but you're better off asking for a remedy by its medical name (e.g., ibuprofen) than its brand name (e.g., Advil). Pharmacies don't have a lot of open shelf space for goods, so you will have to ask the pharmacist for what you want. In both countries paracetemol (and its brand name Panadol) is more recognized than acetaminophen (and the brand name Tylenol) for basic pain relief. Claritin, the allergy relief medication, is sold in Croatia by that name at the pharmacy. Many products that Americans would normally find in their local drugstore—cough syrup, diaper cream, cough drops, muscle cream, and vitamins, to name a few—must be bought in the pharmacy in Croatia. While this system is inconvenient, if you get an allergy attack in the middle of the night, the upside is that prices are kept down by the government, so many things will be a fraction of the cost at home. The word for pharmacy in Croatia is ljekarna, but stick to the equally understood apoteka.
Shots and Medications
If you travel a lot internationally—particularly to developing nations—refer to the CDC's Health Information for International Travel (aka Traveler's Health Yellow Book). Info from it is posted on the CDC website (www.cdc.gov/travel/yb), or you can buy a copy from your local bookstore for $24.95.
World Health Organization. www.who.int.