Romania does not represent any major threat to the health of the travellers, but in case that something unexpected happens, below you can find some useful information related to health and safety.
Though travel insurances are not compulsory when coming to Romania, it is better to have one covering the risk of theft, loss or medical emergency. If an accident or other similar event happens, make sure the insurance covers the cost of the medical care, as well as the worst case scenario expense, which is an emergency flight home. However, even if you have insurance, it is most likely that you will have to pay cash for the medical services, and be reimbursed later by your insurance company.
The same things as for insurances holds true for vaccinations too – they are not required for Romania. However, it is not a bad idea to get vaccinated against hepatitis or typhoid, especially if you plan to go to less touristic areas or the countryside or to eat from smaller, less safe restaurants.
If you are under treatment, the best thing you could do is to bring extra medication with you, together with a letter from your doctor. The letter, signed and stamped, should include the generic names of the pills’ ingredients, so that you could find the correspondent medication easier. Pharmacies, especially in the bigger cities and towns, are well-equipped and supplied. Pharmacists can recommend certain medicines without a doctor prescription.
Health care is sometimes difficult to access and medical resources are unequally distributed in rural areas. In case of accident or medical emergency, call 112 to get an ambulance. Sometimes, the public medical services, whether in the countryside or in the big cities, are below the standards. Public hospitals have emergency services open 24 hours/day, but the operation times can sometimes be longer than desirable. Nevertheless, Bucharest and the bigger cities usually benefit from more modern, private clinics of a higher standard, whose staff can usually speak English or other foreign languages. In Bucharest there are also several clinics offering non-stop emergency services. By calling 021 9761 or 0722 333 000 you can access the standard emergency and ambulance services offered by SOS Medical Group. http://www.sosmedical.ro/sosmedical/
Dental clinics offer excellent services in the major cities of the country. Their facilities and small prices attract many foreigners, which led to a development of dental tourism to Romania. It is often said that Europeans coming to Romania for their dental care save up to 70% of the services’ costs in their home country.
Food is another important aspect that you should pay attention to. Make sure that your meat is fully cooked (boiled, roasted etc). Avoid raw or rare steaks, which are more frequent during the summer and in the touristic restaurants, due to the big number of orders. Generally, the Romanian cuisine is very tasty but high in fat, so don’t exaggerate with the mici or sarmale. Depending on how accustomed you are with this type of food, diarrhoea and stomach cramps can occur. Diarrhoea is the most common disease among travellers. Although easier forms of the disease do not require medication, seek treatment or medical attention in case of aggravation.
Tap water is generally considered safe to drink, but it’s better to prevent than to cure. Bottled water is widely available and it is not expensive either. Take the necessary cautions especially if you stay in a rural area or in a smaller town, as the water quality can vary. In the former case, drinking-water wells are the major source of water. We recommend not to drink water from these wells, as well as water from mountain springs.
The main risk a tourist faces is being charged more than the cost of a certain product or service. This practice, through which prices are sometimes doubled or even tripled, is common in restaurants, small shops and taxis. It is better to have Romanian money (lei) with you and to request to see the bill or other form of written document before paying.
Avoid crowded places (buses, squares), as there are big chances to have your wallet lifted by pickpockets, especially in the touristic areas. We know this is a bit silly piece of advice, but don’t talk to strangers! No, we don’t refer to the fact that you should not talk and get in touch with the locals, but that you should ignore people accosting you on the street to give you advice or to offer their services. Do not leave your belongings unattended and keep your eyes wide open when you withdraw money from the ATMs. It is a good idea to have copies of your documents in safe places, so that you can replace them in case of theft.
Stray dogs are another problem that you might meet with in most of the Romanian cities, especially in the big ones and in Bucharest. Try staying away from the small alleys, especially after nightfall. Do not wear headphones or listen to music, as it may prevent you from hearing the dogs barking – the signal of a possible dog attack. Although most of the dogs are harmless, you should know that, in case you get bitten, you have to go to a hospital as soon as possible.