Getting sick abroad could seriously set you back if you don’t know where to go to get what you need.
Should you go to a hospital? Can you find the items you need at a regular grocery store as we can in the States? Knowing where to go makes all the difference.
Obviously, if you are seriously hurt or sick, you may need to go to the hospital; however, if you are simply looking for a place where someone might be able to point you to what you need to get better, it would help if you knew about pharmacies overseas.
Luckily, the pharmacy system works a bit differently overseas than it does in the US. Often our pharmacies are “drug stores” paired with convenience stores, and sometimes you forget that it’s even a pharmacy.
They are also not as prevalent in the US as they are in most foreign countries. In many countries, they are located every few blocks in the cities and towns, and they are usually marked with some sort of medical symbol like this one, making them easy to spot no matter the language. They generally serve one purpose: to be a pharmacy, not a convenience store.
These pharmacies are staffed with knowledgeable people, even doctors, who can help you figure out what you have if you need help with that, and most importantly, what you need to get over it. Word to the wise: bring a dictionary if you’re dealing with a foreign language; you’d be amazed at how much can be related through just a few key symptom translations.
Many countries offer strong meds over the counter that you would normally need a prescription for in the States, like antibiotics. I’m not a huge fan of antibiotics, so I’m not trying to promote them in any way. However, if you know you need them for whatever ailment you have, you can get antibiotics over the counter in most places. You will need to ask for them, and there may be a limit to how many you can get at a time, but at least you can get them on the spot without a prescription.
If you have a current prescription that you need to refill, simply bring it in for them to look at. They should be able to come up with something close if not the same. In my experience, prices are lower overseas than what we pay in the US for similar products.
Getting sick abroad is not fun, but don’t be afraid to seek the help of the local pharmacy if that’s what you need.
Related Post: 5 Pills for Traveling: Preventing Sickness on the Road