I’ll preface this post with a GIGANTIC DISCLAIMER that I am NOT a doctor or a specialist in medications and I cannot give you medical advice. Talk to your doctor or if all else fails, a pharmacist, before assuming any drugs you don’t know well.  BUT, I have had stomach aches, sore feet, pulled muscles, sunstroke, and a runny nose when travelling (not all at once thankfully), and these are my solutions (always in my cosmetic case when I go on holiday):

otc

Italians have different over the counter medications than other countries, and some of them are not very invasive and actually very effective.

For travellers’ stomach or any other stomach problems, they take Enterogermina, which are little flasks of liquid that contain our friend Bacillus clausii, a happy stomach bacteria that rights what went wrong. I swear by it. (Cost circa 12 euro/20)

Mild Sunstroke: When you’re out touring in the sun and you get one of those brutal dehydration headaches, or if you’re playing sports or running in the heat, we like the rehydrating salts called Dicodral Forte, which you drop into water. They contain glucose, cloride salt, bicarbonate, and potassium chloride, and cost 7,50 for a pack. The “forte” (strong) tastes good while the regular version tastes like sweet bananas which I find not very refreshing (that’s an understatement).

Sore muscle: If you went for a run, got hot, drank a dicodral but have pulled a muscle, they make these medicated patches you can slap on that actually feel very good: TransAct. These cost 18,30 euro for a pack and contain fluriboprofene 400mg.

If you flew over and caught a mild cold, when you feel your throat starting to itch i find Iodosan Gola Action spray to be effective as it disinfects and numbs the itchy pain. When your nose starts to run they sell nasal sprays that are simply sterilized sea water, so that really cannot hurt. One brand is Iper Physiomer, but any “spray nasale ad acqua” is good.

Now, once you feel better you’re likely to go for a long walk wearing sandals or uncomfortable shoes that rub and blister your feet… The brand Compeed makes this little stick of wax that looks like a mini deodorant for your feet, but it’s not (unfortunately…) – you apply it where the shoe rubs and it stops the rubbing for a few hours. I have no idea what the actual product is called but it’s often displayed with other compeed products so you can point to it or print the above picture and show the pharmacist.

**** Some other helpful health in italy information ****

croce-farmacia

FARMACIA: Pharmacies all have a green cross sign outside that should be lit when it is open. Italian pharmacists are VERY well informed, and usually speak quite good English. Try to visit a pharmacy during normal store opening times on weekdays. On weekends and evenings, pharmacies rotate shifts in each area or city (depending on size of area) so you may not find one open close to you.

If you need a prescription or need a doctor for any reason that is not worth of an emergency room visit, you may go see the Guardia Medica, which is an excellent service known to too few people. The Guardia Medica is a kind of on-call doctor for not-huge emergencies during evening and weekend hours.

In the PROVINCE OF FLORENCE, the GUARDIA MEDICA opening hours are: weekdays they open at ore 20 (8pm) and close at 8am the next day. On weekends they open at 10am on saturday and close at 8am the following monday. For a list of locations in the city of florence click here; for a list of locations in the province of florence (outside city) click here. These lists cite the area of the city (downtown florence is quartiere 1 and there are two locations for that quartiere), and a phone number. Unfortunately the address is not listed, but a pharmacist can tell you where the guardia is located, or try phoning and making them speak english. For the list outside florence there is a phone number; if the number is 118 don’t call it unless it’s an emergency – this means that this city/town does not have a guardia medica.

For Florence: There is information about a 24 hour doctor and 24 hour pharmacies on the city’s website here.

The health emergency number – ie to call an ambulance – in italy is 118. For general emergencies call 112: this is the carabinieri number but they can transfer you to any of the other emergency operators including police, fire, and ambulance.

You should always travel with whatever medications you take regularly, as well as those you use in case of cold, injury, or other recurring illnesses. It’s also wise to compose an emergency kit for yourself with bandages, antibiotic cream and the likes. These can also be purchased pre-made and make a good gift for a student going away on her own.

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