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 . . .

7 comments:

Iota said...

The NHS nurses were very dubious of the American ibruprofen I'd given my son, when we were in ER for his broken collar bone. I wished I'd taken it in with me, so that they could read the dosage. That would be something to remember for next time. As it was, all I could say was "two tablets - which is what it says for his age". They gave him some neurofen, and when I protested that it might be over the recommended dose, they said it would be fine. I think they just didn't believe the American ibruprofen would be as effective!

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Whenever I travel these days, I am like a walking-pharmacy! I take things "just in case". Of course I never use them all, but, if I didn't take them with me, I'd need them. It's always the way.

Well That's a Good Scottish Name... said...

The "open 24 hours" marketing of Tesco drives me batty in the UK! I took a photo of the sign when we first moved there because I thought it was the greatest paradox since of course it is not open 24 hours (every day!).

Ayak said...

The thing I love about Turkish pharmacies is being able to buy absolutely everything over the counter, including things like antibiotics and other drugs that you would normally need a prescription for. As far as I know the system isn't abused, and it does save an awful lot of time if you have an infection or something that you have had before and you know exactly what you need.

Star said...

I have the opposite problem when I go to the States, namely Tennessee. Over here in England, the most popular bug repellent is 'Jungle Formula', which comes in various different forms, from a cream that you rub on your skin to a roll-on. It is very gentle and very effective. I know - I'm allergic to mosquito bites. Prevention is better than cure. Also, it is worth asking for Loratadine by name. It's much cheaper to buy it like that than to ask for Clarityn which has the same ingredients.
Glad you had a good time here.
Blessings, Star

If I Could Escape . . . said...

I too am like a walking pharmacy when I travel for all those just in case moments. Glad all was okay. Loved all your photos. Looks like you had a fab time.

Brit Abroad in USA (danielle) said...

Glad your son was okay! I don't have a late night pharmacy available where I am in Pennsylvania, so I try to keep my medicine cabinet well stocked! But my son got poison ivy this Sunday, and could I find any calamine??

As for generics, one common one is different though:
paracetamol in UK = acetominophen in USA.

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