MEDICAL ASSISTANCE ON THE ROAD
If you are in need of medical care in Turkey, an embassy or consulate can provide you with a list of English-speaking doctors. Payment with cash or a credit card is expected at the time of treatment. Serious medical problems should be taken to the klinik or hospital (hastane). Private hospitals, located in the more urban areas, tend to provide better care than state-run hospitals (devlet hastanesi), though they are comparably-priced for foreigners, cash payments are expected. For minor troubles, Turkish pharmacies (eczane) will have remedies. Pharmacies stay open all night on a rotating basis; signs in their windows and in newspapers note which pharmacy is on duty (nöbetçi) on a particular night. Eczane also sell esem mat, small rectangles of mosquito repellent that bum slowly on heat pads that plug into the wall.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration: Heat exhaustion, characterized by dehydration and salt deficiency, can lead to fatigue, headaches, and wooziness. Avoid it by drinking plenty of fluids, eating salty foods (e.g. crackers), and avoiding dehydrating beverages (e.g. alcohol, coffee, tea, and caffeinated soda). Continuous heat stress can eventually lead to heatstroke, characterized by a rising temperature, severe headache, and cessation of sweating. Victims should be cooled off with wet towels and taken to a doctor.
Sunburn: If you’re prone to sunburn, bring sunscreen with you (especially in Eastern Turkey, where it’s nearly impossible to find) and apply it liberally and often to avoid burns and risk of skin cancer. If you are planning on spending time near water, in the desert, or in the snow, you are at risk of getting burned, even through clouds. If you get sun-burned, drink more fluids than usual and apply Calamine or an aloe-based lotion.
Hypothermia and frostbite: A rapid drop in body temperature is the clearest sign of overexposure to cold. Victims may also shiver, feel exhausted, have poor coordination or slurred speech, hallucinate, or suffer amnesia. Do not let hypothermia victims fall asleep, or their body temperature will continue to drop and they may die. Keep dry, wear layers, and stay out of the wind to avoid hypothermia. When the temperature is below freezing, watch out for frostbite. If skin turns white, waxy, and cold, do not rub the area. Drink warm beverages, get dry, and slowly warm the area with dry fabric or steady body contact until a doctor can be found.
High altitude: Allow your body a couple of days to adjust to less oxygen before exerting yourself. Alcohol is more potent and UV rays are stronger at high elevations.