Warm winters have recently caused an explosion in the summertime tick population, which often causes outbreaks of Lyme disease. If you intend to do a lot of hiking, especially in the southern half of the country, be aware of the danger of ticks spreading Lyme disease. There is no vaccination against them, so prevention is important. Wear high shoes or boots, long pants, and light-color clothing. Use a good insect repellent, and check yourself for ticks after outdoor activities, especially if you've walked through high grass.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

All over-the-counter medicines, even aspirin, are only available at an Apotheke (pharmacy): the German term Drogerie, or drugstore, refers to a shop for sundry items.

Apotheken are open during normal business hours, with those in train stations or airports open later and on weekends. Apotheken are plentiful, and there is invariably one within a few blocks. Every district has an emergency pharmacy that is open after hours. These are listed as Apotheken Notdienst or Apotheken-Bereitschaftsdienst on the window of every other pharmacy in town, often with directions for how to get there. Pharmacies will have a bell you must ring to enter. Most pharmacists in larger cities speak enough English to help. Some drugs have different names: acetaminophen—or Tylenol—is called paracetomol.

Shots and Medications

Germany is by and large a healthy place. There are occasional outbreaks of measles—including one in North Rhine–Westfalia—so be sure you have been vaccinated.


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