Health & Safety
Many people travel to Zante in search of the sun. The sun should be enjoyed, but overexposure can cause sunburn, leading to premature skin ageing and an increased risk of skin cancer. It is the ultraviolet rays which cause this; even in the UK they can damage your skin, and UV is much more powerful the nearer to the equator you go. Follow our simple guide for safety in the sun:
— Never underestimate how ill careless exposure to the sun can make you.
— If you want to avoid trouble, take care not to burn. It is particularly important to care for your children, and babies should never be placed in direct sunlight.
— Stay out of the sun for at least 2 hours around midday, use what shade there is at other times, and cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and tightly woven but loose clothing.
— Protective creams suitable for your skin type can help protect unavoidably exposed parts of the body.
— Wear sunglasses which filter UV rays to protect your eyes.
— A separate risk of overexposure to the sun is sunstroke or heatstroke, caused simply by overheating.
— Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest hours, and make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids to balance the loss of body fluid through perspiration. What you drink must be safe, either soft drinks from sealed cans or bottles, or water which has been boiled or is bottled.
Take the same care for your safety and belongings as you would in your home country. Use safety deposit facilities and avoid carrying more money than you need. Take care of wallets, cameras & bags when you are out.
— Ensure you lock all doors and windows when you leave your accommodation.
— Take extra care on balconies. Young children should never be left unsupervised.
— Keep balcony furniture away from the railings or walls so that children do not climb up. Please do not lean over or sit on the balcony wall or railings.
— Do not climb from one balcony to another, nor throw litter or glass from them.
— Glass doors, including patio doors in hotels and apartments are usually marked with a sticker, but a few will be made from toughened safety glass. Please take care when using these doors especially in bright sunlight as it may not be obvious that they are closed.
Remember that children may be less careful in new surroundings. Take extra care with them on balconies, stairs and around water.
— Please familiarise yourself with the fire safety exit routes, location of extinguishers and where to raise the alarm. Do not tamper with any alarm or fire equipment.
— Please read any safety information provided in your apartment/room and at reception.
— Make sure that all smoking materials are safely extinguished and please DO NOT smoke in bed.
— If you have a’kitchen hob’never leave anything heating unsupervised.
In the unlikely event of a fire:
— Stay calm, do not panic.
— Do not stop to pack or collect personal belongings.
— If your escape route is clear, leave your room immediately. Do not use the lifts in the event of a fire.
— Exit the building as quickly as possible.
— If you cannot leave your room, close all the doors, put wet towels/clothes around the seals and shout for help from the window or telephone reception.
Avoid walking alone and in unlit areas or on the beach at night. Do not accept lifts from strangers, use licensed taxis.
— Be vigilant to differing traffic/road conditions.
— Never leave anything valuable in parked cars.
— Traffic accidents are the major cause of death among travellers. Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, always check on local traffic regulations.
— If you are in a car, always wear seat belts.
— If you are on a motor- or pedal-bike, always wear a helmet and put children in a child restraint.
— If you hire a car or a bike, check its condition and the insurance cover. And never drink and drive.
To avoid insect and animal bites, use insect repellent preparations and cover arms and legs when advised. Animal bites can set up infections which can be serious and sometimes fatal. Be wary of even tame animals. Also see our guide on Insect bites.
— Only use the pool during designated opening hours.
— Please ensure that you shower & use the toilet before entering the pool.
— Waterproof nappies should be worn by infants who need them.
— Every pool is different. Most hotels/apartments overseas do not employ lifeguards so please familiarise yourself with the layout including special features, changes in depth, slopes and children’s areas before you or your children swim.
— Children should never be left unsupervised in the swimming pool or around the pool area (even if there is a lifeguard).
— Always ensure that non/weak swimmers wear safe buoyancy aides. THINK before you dive. Do not dive where there are’No Diving’signs or where there is insufficient depth of water. Minimum recommended depth for diving is 1.5 metres.
— Avoid swimming after eating or consuming alcohol.
— Have fun, but avoid unruly behaviour.
— Take care around drainage channels and be aware of slippery and uneven surfaces. Please do not take glassware into the pool areas.
Even’safe’beaches may become dangerous in certain conditions. Check depths, tides and currents before you or your children swim.
— Do not swim alone or at night.
— Supervise children and weak swimmers.
— If you decide to use inflatables, boats or lilos please take extreme caution.
— Swim along the shoreline, not out to sea. Do not dive into the sea from the shoreline.
— If the beach has flags, be aware of their meaning and obey them. Where there are designated swimming areas stay within the markers.
— We DO NOT recommend jet ski hire from independent beach operators. Jet skiing remains a hazardous activity and you should always take at most care to avoid the risk of injuring yourself and others. We also do not recommend paragliding or par-ascending.
— Do not use the lifts in the event of a fire.
— Not all lifts are fitted with interior doors. Please take care when using this type of lift.
— Smoking is not permitted in lifts.
— Adults should always accompany children in lifts.
— Follow any instructions relating to the use of gas/electrical appliances. Do not tamper with any fixtures or fittings.
— Switch’Off’gas cookers and gas cylinders when not in use. The gas supply may be from a bottle located under/near the hob. Please report any faults/suspected gas leaks immediately.
If you are going to take part in potentially hazardous sports, such as skiing, canoeing or mountaineering, follow all the relevant safety guidance; make sure that there are adequate emergency medical facilities on hand; and check that you have medical insurance which covers you fully in the event of any accident. Divers should allow 24 hours between their last dive and a flight.
Follow our simple guide to visiting a pharmacy while you’re abroad:
— In some countries, it isn’t always clear from the outside whether the shop is indeed a pharmacy. If in doubt, look out for a green cross, or the snake and chalice symbol.
In Mediterranean countries, many pharmacies close for up to three hours for lunch, but they open earlier than in your home country and close later. All countries have a duty rota outside of opening hours.
Don’t put your faith in sign language. Language problems are likely to be the biggest set back to curing your ailment, and you may even end up with the wrong drug.
If you feel you haven’t been understood fully, find another pharmacist or indeed a doctor with whom you can communicate more easily. Hotels will have access to a doctor who should be able to speak English.
Many pharmacies abroad sell antibiotics as over-the-counter remedies. Even if the pharmacist recommends one, they aren’t necessarily helpful for holiday upsets — for instance, unless you can be sure your diarrhoea is bacterium-based, antibiotics won’t help you. In any event, long term for this complaint, you need re-hydration powders.
The key to making sure you are buying the right medicine is in knowing the generic name, i.e. the name of the active ingredient, the one that actually fights the illness. Pharmacies in Europe may not be familiar with the brand names of Arret or Diocalm — but they will probably know about loperamide. This is the active ingredient used for temporary diarrhoea relief — (useful for example, if you have a long bus, car or train journey to make), so ask for that, and you should get given the local branded equivalent.
Panadol for instance is a known brand name in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States. In France, ask for Nurofen or Advil. The same goes for Calamine to treat sunburn and insect bites — though it may be pronounced’calameeen’.
that should help you to communicate those minor ailments to the pharmacist include: senna (if you’re constipated); sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, potassium choloride and glucose (for dehydration problems caused by sunburn or diarrhoea); salts of calcium, magnesium or sodium bicarbonate (if you’ve overdone the sangria and paella); hydrocortisone (for insect bites and stings); Deet (to prevent bites and stings); and Hyoscine for travel sickness. Describe your symptoms as best you can (even if this means miming), as well as giving the generic name, and don’t be surprised if the pharmacist counteracts with a different name — this will probably be the local brand name for the medicine you have mentioned.
— Avoid suspect brands
Medication that is not clearly labelled with the generic (pharmacological) name as well as the brand name should be considered suspect. There is a growing market in counterfeit drugs in some African and Far Eastern countries, and locally prepared substitutes are often of low potency. Stick to medicine that is manufactured by large international companies — even if it does cost more. And don’t buy any bottle where the seal has been tampered with — ideally capsules should be individually foil or plastic wrapped.
— Check that medicines are within their use by date Out-of-date drugs can be ineffective.
— Tell the pharmacist if you are pregnant
Breast feeding, or buying medicines for a baby or small child. And make sure he or she knows about other medical conditions, whether you are taking any other medication, any medicines that have an adverse effect on you. If you are worried about the language, find someone in your hotel to write all this down in translation.
- Above all, be prepared
Before you travel, make up a mini medicine kit and carry this as hand luggage. Ideally it should contain remedies for sunburn, diarrhoea, indigestion, cuts, grazes and insect bites, headaches and sore throats. Pack a thermometer too, and if you have an existing condition like angina, asthma or diabetes, as well as the medicines needed, carry a card outlining you personal details, your medical history and both the generic and brand names of the drugs you take, detailing dosage too.