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Despite its warm weather, Barcelona still experiences a dip in temperatures, accompanied by a seasonal rise in cold and flu symptoms, at this time of the year.
While it’s difficult to avoid the pesky bugs that cause coughs and sneezes, most symptoms are mild and can be easily treated at home. Stay warm, take paracetamol or ibuprofen for fevers, aches and pains, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and make sure you get plenty of sleep.
But sometimes, symptoms can be slightly more serious and may warrant a visit to the doctor. It’s important to make sure that you’re registered to receive treatment before getting ill – here’s how.
Do you have the European Health Insurance Card or a Spanish Social Security Card?
Locate your nearest CAP (Centro de Atención Primaria, Primary Attention Center), the Spanish public health system. Go there personally before becoming ill and ask to be assigned a doctor. Take your European Health Insurance Card and proof that you are living in Barcelona, such as a tenancy agreement.
While there, ask:
Where to go for accidents and emergencies (some CAPs have different access doors for emergencies and for regular doctor visits.
Where to go for regular doctor visits (find out whether you will be assigned a fix doctor or not).
How to manage payments and reimbursements, if any. It’s important to remember that the Spanish public health system does NOT cover all medical costs. Be sure you are well informed on how to pay for your medical expenses and who in your home country will reimburse any expenses you incur.
Do you have a private medical insurance?
Locate your medical insurance certificate: your policy number and a telephone number should be provided. Call your insurance company and ask them how to proceed in case of medical need in Spain.
Don’t forget to ask:
Where to go and who to call for accidents and emergencies (they should be able to provide you with exact addresses and hospital names).
Where to go and who to call for regular doctor visits (they should be able to provide you with exact addresses and hospital names.
How to manage payments and reimbursements, if any.
The public telephone number for (serious) emergencies is 112. This number can only be called from a Spanish phone.