Finland

Finland is home to the Santa Claus Village
Finland is home to the Santa Claus Village

Finland offers a unique blend of attractions for visitors. Santa Claus Village is a hugely popular amusement park, while Helsinki Senate Square and Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki are among the displays of impressive architecture on offer.

Travelling to Finland

Finland can be accessed from the United Kingdom either by airplane, ferry and train or car, with travel times very much dependent on your choice of travel.

Travelling by car from Hull to Finland can take 31 hours out of your holiday, although you do get to pass through Germany and Sweden along the way.

Non-stop flights from Manchester to Helsinki, meanwhile, can take just under three hours. Otherwise, the stops your airline makes will differ as to how long this journey would be, with one-stop trips taking between five and 13 hours.

There is no direct ferry from the UK to Finland, but the train can be taken over three days from London to Stockholm, from which the ferry can then be travelled on to Finland.

If you are unsure as to how to adjust your diabetes management while travelling to Finland then you should discuss a plan with your diabetic specialist.

Time difference

The time difference in Finland is two hours ahead of British Summer Time and three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. This shouldn’t require any major changes to your diabetes management.

Climate

The winters in Finland can be quite harsh due to the severe cold, which averages temperatures hovering around freezing point.

In the summer, the climate rises to an average of 17°C.

Currency

The Euro is the currency of Finland, with ATMs scattered all across the country. Banks are open on weekdays from 1000-1630, but are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The word for 'bank' in Finnish is 'pankki'.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccinations required to enter Finland, however rabies is present in bats and other mammals in Finland, so it is advised for those planning activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites to receive a rabies vaccine.

If you believe you may require this vaccine then it is advised to consult your doctor eight weeks before travelling which should allow enough time for you to receive it.

Otherwise, the opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.

Have you got a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

Finland is amongst the European countries that allow you to receive state healthcare either at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for medical treatment until you return to the UK.

It is best to apply for an EHIC card directly through the NHS. Your card will usually arrive within seven days if you have applied through the NHS, but it is best to apply two weeks in advance to allow for any delays.

Getting medication

Medication is available in Finland, but payment is required from a pharmacy, for which the Finnish translation is ‘Aptekki’.  However, possessing an EHIC card allows you to receive treatment at a lesser cost and this money can be recouped when you get back into the UK.

Pharmacies are generally open during normal working hours, though each town has one pharmacy that stays open later than the others. Blood and urine testing kits are available from many pharmacies in Finland.

You may not always find blood and urine testing equipment in Finnish pharmacies but you should be able to obtain it from a health centre in an emergency. Many local branches of the Finnish Diabetic Association will sell blood testing equipment as well.

For this reason it is especially wise to bring a second metre with you and store it away from your main metre in case you somehow lose it.

Emergency number

The emergency services number to be called in Finland is 112. An ambulance is called “ambulanssi” in Finnish.

It is advisable to contact the manufacturing company of your medication prior to leaving the UK to find out what is available in Finland if your medication gets lost, stolen or damaged. It is also worth checking to see what different names your medication may be listed as.

Insulin

You should note which syringes are available in Finland, with U-100 syringes the most commonly used.

The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you need to take a different strength of insulin, say in an emergency, it’s important that you use the correct device and syringes for that insulin.

For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.
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Diabetes associations

It is important to note the diabetes associations in the country you are travelling to in case of an emergency.

The one diabetic association of Finland is the Finnish Diabetes Association, which has been a member of the Internal Diabetes Federation since 1950.

The address is:

Questions

  • How is blood glucose measured in Finland? Blood glucose levels are measured in mmol/l, as they are in the UK
  • What language is spoken in Finland? Finnish and Swedish, but English is widely spoken as well
  • Will I need an international driving license when driving in Finland? No
  • If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
  • What sugar free drinks are available in Finland? Many brands of diet soft drinks and artificially sweetened juices are widely available.
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