Seeing a Doctor in Israel: A Health Guide for Tourists

Sick in Israel while Travelling?

Sickness sucks, especially when you’re travelling. After a total of 5 weeks with ongoing coughs and infections within 3 months, I unfortunately know what I’m talking about. However, the Israeli health system is pretty good, so don’t worry. They’ll get you fixed. So no matter whether you just need medication, a doctor in Israel or even a hospital, we’ll provide you with all the knowledge you need to have!

Since research can be tiring, here’s a health guide for you while travelling in Israel, covering all the topics in the following order:

  1. Travel Insurance
  2. How to Prevent Common Infections
  3. How to Find Pharmacies in Israel
  4. International Doctors in Tel Aviv
  5. An Overview of Hospitals in Tel Aviv

 

1. Travel Insurance

The state of Israel has an insurance system and provides basic health care for all of its citizens. However, everyone else will be asked to pay for medical services. A single treatment from a doctor can easily cost 800 NIS (230€) and more, the hospital even charges at least 1500 NIS (430€). Additional treatments and medication add up to the expenses. Thus, one should definitely have a valid travel health insurance, that pays back the expenditures.

 

2. How to Prevent Common Infections

Of course, preventing every kind of sickness is impossible. However, certain infections can be avoided, that are very common for visitors from abroad. From my experience, many tourists travelling to the Near East suffer from similar problems.

AIR CONDITIONING

Air conditioningACs can be very controversially discussed. With temperatures exceeding 30°C in summer, they certainly make life easier and more comfortable indoors. However, people in Israel tend to turn the AC to ‘freezing’ in public spaces, which my body repeatedly struggled with – and so did others.

So, what’s the problem with ACs? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually the cold temperature itself, that causes sickness. However, the airflow can be too strong or not adjusted well. Therefore, it shouldn’t be directed towards oneself. Additionally, the changes in temperature are exhausting for the body, making it more prone for infections with bacteria and viruses. These are likely to gather within the AC if it’s not well maintained, due to the humid inside the machine.

Thus, I recommend the following:

  • Turn on the AC before you sleep and cool down the room. Right before you go to bed: Turn it off.
  • Always take a jumper or jacket with you, even if it’s hot. Thank me later. Be it on the bus, in a museum or a restaurant, you’ll probably need it. By the way, this also applies to the airplane. Watch out that you’re dressed warm enough and that the ventilation above your head is not directly pointed towards you.

 

EAR INFECTIONS

SurfWith the mediterranean, the dead and the red sea, Israel is a paradise for water sports, be it for swimming, surfing or diving. The fun can rapidly be over though, for example with an otitis externa, which is a diagnosis that is also called “swimmer’s ear”. In the best case, the infection is treated with ear drops and fades quickly. In the worst case, however, it can last very long, be incredibly painful and might need treatment with antibiotics and other anti-inflammatory medication from a doctor in Israel.

The “swimmer’s ear” basically means that the outer ear canal gets infected by bacteria. These find fertile soil inside the ear, if there’s humidity or liquid remains, for example after doing water sports, which is where the name of the infection is from. Additionally, tiny tears and small wounds inside the ear canal increase the danger of a “swimmer’s ear”.

Thus, try the following to prevent an infection:

  • Avoid using ear swabs or if you do, be extremely gentle with your ear. Otherwise, you may create a tiny wound, without even noticing, which increases the likeliness of an infection.
  • Dry the inside of your ear after water sports, but also after taking a shower.
  • There are special earplugs for sports above (swimming, surfing, …) and also below the water surface (diving). They prevent water from coming into the canal of your ear. It is important to use special plugs for diving by the way, because otherwise, the pressure equalization might be disturbed.

 

3. How to Find Pharmacies in Israel

During the week, it should not be a problem for you to find pharmacies in Israel. When walking through the city, there are plenty of them. If you’re trying to look them up, e. g. on Google Maps, we recommend Super-Pharm or Be. Shops from both chains include a drug store as well as a pharmacy counter, where medicine with and without prescription is available. Be aware, that in both pharmacy chains, you’ll have to take a number from a machine. It’s your turn as soon as your number is announced.

On Shabbat, finding a pharmacy turns out to be more difficult. There are emergency pharmacies, that are open for sure, but without any skill in Hebrew, finding them is hard, since it changes every week. Usually, there will be a note on every pharmacy’s door, that informs about the closest pharmacy on duty, but it may only be in Hebrew. Unfortunately, you may have to search for a while.

 

4. International Doctors in Tel Aviv

Doctor child

Do you need to see a doctor in Israel? Here’s an overview on a few international ones:

General practitioner: Dr. Michael Cohen (“Tel Aviv Doctor”)

  • Phone: +972 (0) 54 – 9 41 42 43
  • Address: Tel Aviv, 46 Basel Street

Dentist: Dr. Michael Meyer

  • Phone: +972 (0) 3-5757242
  • Address: Tel Aviv, Zangwill 3

Pediatrician: Dr. Rafi Kahn

  • Phone: +972 (0) 50-8463570 / +972 (0) 54-7642932
  • Address: Tel Aviv, Rehov Berliner 8

 

5. An Overview of Hospitals in Tel Aviv

Emergency numbers for Israel: 100 (police) – 101 (firefighters) – 102 (ambulance)

Sheba Hospital Israel
The Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv.

In case you have an emergency or accident, or if you need medical advice from a doctor in Israel during public holidays or Shabbat, the hospital is your place to go. Here’s a list of hospitals and medical centres in alphabetical order:

1. Assuta Hospital

  • Address: HaBarzel St. 20, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  • Phone: +972 (0) 3-764-4444
  • For more information, click here

 

2. Reut Medical Centre

  • Address: Sderot HaHayil 2, Tel Aviv
  • Phone: +972 (0) 3-5081000
  • For more information, click here

 

3. Sheba Medical Centre

  • Address: Derech Sheba 2, Ramat Gan
  • Phone: +972 (0) 3-5303030
  • For more information, click here

 

4. Sourasky Medical Centre (Ichilov)

  • Address: Weizmann 6, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  • Phone: +972 (0) 3-6974444
  • For more information, click here

 

5. Terem’s Public Health Clinic

Terem is a clinic that provides medical services for urgent cases that do not need to be hospitalized. They have plenty of locations and you can see the opening hours as well as the waiting times online. All the clinics are publicly available except the clinic in Tel Aviv, which is only for people without a valid health insurance.

For more information and an overview of all the Terem Clinics, click here.

 

We do of course hope, that you do not actually need the information in this article on how to find a doctor in Israel and we wish you safe and healthy travels. But in case you’re already sick: Refuha Shlema, as they say in HebrewGet well soon!

Also, if you’re still trying to find the perfect tour to get around the country, have a look at our IsraelRail-Tours!

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