It is no fun when you are on holiday and things go wrong.

If you are unfamiliar with what to do in an emergency in Spain then this guide is for you.

The national emergency number is 112, dial this from any phone including a mobile. Operators speak several languages but be patient and speak slowly and clearly.

POLICE

There are three police services in Spain and sometimes this can be confusing, If you call the national emergency number and ask for police assistance the appropriate police will be dispatched to help you. Generally, the national police (Policía Nacional) perform the usual police functions. They have distinctive blue cars with the Spanish colours, their police stations are clearly marked and it is here you would report the loss of a passport for example.

In addition there is the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) this is a paramilitary service that also operates on roads and motorways and includes drug enforcement and border operations.

Most towns also have a local police service (policía local) as the name implies they have responsibility for local matters. You will find details of all the police services in your area under 'essential services' in TheLista

Do remember that certain customs and forms of behaviour may differ from what you might expect. For example in Spain you are required to wear a top when you are away from the beach. Bars may not serve you (its the law) if you are not properly clothed. The only exception to this rule is if you are on the beach or adjacent to it.

Naked sunbathing and swimming is permitted but check for local signs, as this may not be permitted everywhere.

If you have hired a car do make sure you are familiar with driving codes in Spain. Be very careful when on a main road as people will drive onto the main road and expect you to give way. This is a very common cause of accidents so do be careful. Also exercise care at roundabouts, many people do not signal and will cut across you at the last moment. You can read our driving tips here.

Finally, the police in Spain can issue on the spot fines. If you are stopped by an unmarked car you should ask for identification. Also remember you must carry identification with you at all times.

MEDICAL HELP

Medical help in Spain may differ from what you might be used to. Many hospitals and ambulances are private and you will be charged if you use these services.

In an emergency call 112 and you will be sent an ambulance which is part of the state health system. If you have comprehensive medical insurance you can ask to be taken to a private hospital.

Remember also for minor ailments and small injuries you can always seek help from pharmacies where the staff are fully qualified to assist you.

From our medical advisor.

For most minor ailments you should seek advice from a pharmacist. Pharmacists in Spain are qualified to help with many minor situations.

BonaSOL guests should go to the Riviera Pharmacy situated on Av. Del Golf in Riviera. The staff speak English, as well as other lanugages, and are highly trained. The pharmacy is open 9am to 10pm Monday - Saturday. Telephone:  951 27 26 18

Missing prescription drugs?

If you have left your prescription medicines at home, or you run out unexpectedly, take the empty container (if you have it) to your local pharmacy and explain the situation. In most cases they will be able to provide you with enough medication for the remainder of your stay. In the event that you run into any difficulty please don't hesitate to contact us we can usually arrange for an emergency prescription.

Missing HIV medication.

If you have run out of, or lost, your HIV medication contact us in complete confidence and we will be able to arrange an emergency supply.

Our tips for dealing with common holiday upsets.

Upset stomach.

Best advice is to drink plenty of clean water and rest, usually these upsets clear by themselves within 24 hours. If symptoms persist then ask the pharmacist for Loperamida.

Normal dose for adults is 4mg initially, followed by 2mg. Maximun of 16mg/day.(Children up to 5yrs 1mg, maximum of 3mg/day, 6-8yrs 2mg up to 4mg/day, 9-12yrs  2mg up to 6mg/day.

Too much sun.

BonaSOL is supporting Mijas Ayuntamiento this year in their skin cancer prevention campaign. Click here to find out more.

Its important to determine if you are dealing with sunburn or more seriously heat stroke.

Sunburn - you know when you have had too much, its very uncomfortable. Over the counter after sun products will help, Aloe Vera is also useful. There is no quick fix, stay out of the sun until your skin settles down. In very serious cases some pain relief might be helpful, we suggest paracetamol in this case.

Heat stroke - its a technical term but applies when you have really been in the sun for too long. Perhaps you fell asleep in the sun (maybe as a result of one too many cocktails!)  It is a potentially serious condition. People will often appear disorientated, possibly feel sick, and generally appear unwell.  Arrange for the person to lie down in a cool shady room, give them plenty to drink (water or juice is good - nothing fizzy!) Get some flannels or small towels and soak then in cold water, apply to the face, neck and shoulders, also the groin. These will take the heat out of the body. Don’t worry about food, fluid replacement is more important. If things don’t improve, or your patient seems to get worse call 061 for professional help.

Heat exhaustion - this is serious. Usually is happens as a result of overdoing something in the sun, such as going for a run or some other strenuous activity. Put simply the body can’t regulate temperature properly, people often appear very confused, their skin might look dry and feel cool. If you suspect heat exhaustion based on what the person had been doing prior to this event, try and get them to start drinking water as soon as possible, ideally you need an oral rehydration solution. In am emergency grab a can of cola pour it out and let it go flat, use that as this will replace some essential sugar into the bloodstream. If you do suspect heat exhaustion call for professional help using the 061 number as intravenous fluid replacement might be necessary.

Bit too much to drink…

We have all over done it from time to time. Best advice is to rehyrdate slowly using clean water. After an hour or so, if you can tolerate it, a dilute solution of juice and water will start to help. If you have a very bad head, then 500mg of paracetamol, but don’t take this until you have had a least 500ml of water. If you feel sick - let it out, then make sure you drink water after. Nothing fizzy, and certainly no alcohol for at least 48hours.

Insect bites.

The Costa del Sol is a sub tropical part of Spain and so insect bites are common. If you are prone to reacting to bites then an over the counter anti-histamine will help you. Ask the pharmacist for antihistamínico. Diphenhydramine in cream or tablet is recommended. Otherwise wash the affected area with soap and water (remove any visible sting) and apply a cold compress. In the event that someone appears to be having an extreme allergic reaction call 061 immediately.

Accidents.

All BonaSOL apartments have a stocked first aid kit which you may use in the event of an accident. Please let us know if you use something so that we can re-stock. We hold a comprehensive range of medical and first aid items in the event that you need something urgently please contact us and we will gladly assist you.

If you need to attend hospital and wish someone to accompany you please contact us using the 24hr number, we will be happy to help. Do remember you may need to show evidence of medical insurance.

In the event of a serious incident we are able to contact various consular offices on your behalf, and also co-ordinate with your insurer as necessary. Just call us.