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Should you encounter medical problems, you're in luck because Finland's medical facilities are of a high standard. Some travelers, from countries such as Australia, have reciprocal health agreements with Finland, which means travelers can access a number of healthcare services. This does not, however, replace the need for travel insurance.
There are no recommended vaccinations for Finland, however, all travelers should keep their routine vaccinations up to date. Travelers wanting to spend extended time in wilderness areas may want to consider getting the Tick-Borne Encephalitis vaccination (if available).
The local tap water is safe to drink, however, if you are planning to hit the hiking trails, take caution when collecting water in natural streams and rivers.
A burbling stream may look crystal clear and very inviting, but there may be pulp factories, people or livestock upstream. Having said that many trekkers in the wilderness of eastern Lapland claim that springs there are safe to drink from without purifying. Ask the locals where to drink and, if in doubt, treat your water before drinking.
In neighboring Sweden and Norway, the general rule of thumb is that if the water is running it's safe to drink e.g waterfalls and natural springs. The higher into the mountains you are, the cleaner the water is. As Finland is predominately flat, natural water is at risk of pollution or stagnation. Those natural water drinking habits you may have picked up in other Scandinavian countries may not be appropriate in Finland. If you are unsure, stick to boiled or treated water.
Lyme Disease is present in Finland. Ticks infected with the Borrelia bacteria infect humans and animals when they latch on and have a feed. Symptoms develop over several days and include rash, fever, headaches, chills, muscle and joint pain. Seek medical treatment as the early that Lyme Disease is treated, recovery time is less (generally two to four weeks).
Travelers who want to experience Finland's great outdoors should take precautions against tick bites by wearing strong insect repellent, light-colored, long-sleeved clothing and by tucking pants into socks. Gaiters can also help. Stick to marked tracks when out walking, and avoid brushing up against long grass and other vegetation. Most importantly, check yourself over after your outdoor adventure as ticks love to hide in warm spots such as armpits, behind ears, behind knees, and in and around the groin area.
Finland does winter well, with thick snow in many parts and temperatures dropping to as low as -55°F (-50°C) in northern Finland. If you are planning to travel to Finland during the winter months (and why wouldn't you, it's pretty spectacular!), it's important to come prepared for the chill factor and to avoid conditions such as frostbite.
Also, check out our tips on avoiding the winter blues during the darkness of winter in Finland.
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Here's what you should know about seasonal affective disorder in Finland, and how to stay safe and warm during the winter months.
Listen to this episode of The World Nomads Podcast Finland, and find out about nudity and sauna etiquette, plus how to shoot the northern lights.
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