After 31 years in the United States, I find myself more American than I ever expected to be, yet not so American in many ways.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Bugs and meds
I didn't miss the US on our recent trip to the UK, except when we needed an open pharmacy at 8 on a Sunday evening when my son had a strong allergic reaction to the local biting insects and began to look very puffy. My mother was sure the 24 hour Tescos would be open, but '24 hours' means 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. on Sundays. Should you ever be in a similar situation, do not bother trying to find out which is the 'duty chemist' in town. They won't be open either, as their hours are likely to be something like 11 a.m. till 1 p.m. According to Late Night Chemist, Boots claims that they now have a 24 hour pharmacy within a thirty mile drive of most of the UK population, but we had a hospital much closer than that which was a better bet. We were lucky enough that we knew all we needed for DS was over-the-counter antihistamines. The hospital has a truly 24 hour pharmacy which sells OTC meds, and we got in and out fast enough that we weren't even charged the 2 pound parking fee and didn't have to deal with anyone asking us for either NHS cards or (worse) credit cards!
Make sure you know the generic name for any OTC meds you may need when travelling. We wanted Claritin - and found Clarityn was the same thing - loratadine. I would be wary however that similar brand names might not always mean similar products, and sometimes the names are so different that telling the pharmacist what you want will not immediately get you what you need.
Of course, we should have had some loratadine with us. I had my asthma inhaler and never needed it, though had I forgotten it I would have certainly needed it! I was glad I'd remembered the imodium when I was not well on our return flight - especially as we ended up sitting in the plane on the ground at Heathrow for 2 hours after our scheduled departure time! Although I've had a flight attendant offer me meds for an upset stomach in the past, I learned from that experience that the imodium pills are so tiny it's always worth having some with you when you travel. Loratadine now gets added to my packing list, but who knew that bug repellent with DEET would have been a good idea for a trip to the UK? Aiee - not that it would have done anything to ward off the wasps that were everywhere this year . . .