On Being Sick Abroad

Getting sick is never fun. But getting sick abroad has the added challenge of trying to track down your tried and true remedies in foreign terrain. Two weeks ago I had an allergic reaction to a bug bite. Benadryl? Nope, apparently you have to go to France, as the Swiss pharmacies stopped carrying that formulation. Looking for a refill for your bottle of Tums? Well, it seems the nearest country you might have luck is England. Somehow fall up the stone stairs in front of your university? (yes, I know, I’m special…) Neosporin is not a thing here. Fall prey to a weird summer flu that wreaks havoc on your stomach? Ginger ale and saltine crackers are a rare find in Genevois supermarkets (a big thank you, Gui, for your perseverance).

Of course, the Swiss have their own remedies for all of these maladies and friendly pharmacists are always willing to help you locate the best substitute. But given that we’re living in a western country with a private health care system, as was the case in the states, it’s been pretty interesting to see so many differences — and we’ve been lucky enough not to have any major health issues thus far.

What about you guys? Any thoughts or stories about getting sick abroad? Share them in the comments section or via plaidshirtdiaries[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Stay healthy, everyone!


7 thoughts on “On Being Sick Abroad

  1. I had this experience in New Zealand! I had no idea what medicine they gave me but it was super cheap. Haha, as long as it works! I’m sorry you got sick and glad you’re feeling better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you’re feeling better! While over-the-counter medicines are certainly different, I find it helpful that some drugs are available via the pharmacy and without a prescription. This makes it easier to treat mild illnesses like the flu or colds or the sadly common gastrointestinal disorder 🙂 In India, for example, it is faster, easier and cheaper to just go to the pharmacy for certain maladies.

    Liked by 1 person

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