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Glad to be getting out of here?

Boise, ID
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Glad to be getting out of here?

In light of the recent Swine Flu scare, I am pretty glad to be getting out of the US for 12 weeks, to enjoy Italy and all its flu-free people in just a little over a week.

Does anyone foresee trouble at the airports for people traveling for the US to Europe? I will be going Atlanta --> Amsterdam --> FCO Rome.

Are you taking any extra precautions as you travel or go about town (outside of paying special attention to washing hands and opening bathroom doors with your elbows :p ) ?

I never really considered getting sick while away from home. Although I don't fear getting swine flu, as it seems no more severe than any other strain, I am just wondering the ease of which Italian pharmacies are run. If I need a Tamiflu, can I just ask the chemist for one, or would I need to see a physician first? More importantly (to me!), if I run out of Zyrtec, is it incredibly expensive or prescription-only in Italy (if anyone happens to have experience here).

Thank you much!

Philadelphia...
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1. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

Make sure you take enough medicine with you for your trip. Your doctor can give you an extended prescription to cover your time overseas. Keep you prescription meds in their original containers, clearly marked as from the pharmacy. If you have a condition that might flare up while traveling, discuss the possibility and your options with your doctor.

Europe has already given a travel advisory regarding North America. I think you can expect more vigilance at customs. During the bird flu scare we saw travelers from asia given special attention at airport customs.

Boise, ID
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2. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

Unfortunately Zyrtec is no longer prescription in the US, and therefore not covered by insurance anymore and VERY expensive to stock up for 3 months. Was wondering (and hoping) if it was potentially less expensive in EU.

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

Oh, I'm sorry, I misunderstood. I would still rely on my doctors counsel in this matter. While my experiences with pharmacies in Italy have been good, my own ability to communicate what I need as well as completely understand the directions for use has been lees than perfect. On my first trip I wanted lozenges for my sore throat, misunderstood the dosing directions and took far more than I should have given my blood pressure. No real harm was done but it underscores the difficulty you face when traveling in regards to health issues and medication.

Best of luck!

Doylestown...
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4. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

From memory, when I had hayfever in Italy, it was not possible to get things like Zyrtec/Claratyne without a prescription. You can get those in the UK over the counter at Pharmacies in packs of 10 or 30.

South Orange, New...
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for Campania
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5. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

I've gotten sick more than once in Italy :-(

and also in The Czech Republic, Ireland and Spain.

I have had to see a doctor in all - luckily, going to the doctor in Europe costs very little compared to the US (even for foreigners, I found the cost minimal). I did need to have a prescription from an Italian doctor in order to have it filled (as well as in the other countries).

I speak a little Italian, but, you will be able to find medical help that speak some English in most places and you can always contact the US embassy for a list of English speaking doctors in Rome.

When I was very sick in Spain, I called the hotel reception and they called a doctor for me who spoke English and made a "house-call" to my hotel room - he gave me an exam and antibiotic injection and enough medicine to get me through until I got home and I think the entire thing came to maybe 30euros or so (could be wrong...but it was minimal).

My 7 month old son had a severe kidney infection once while we were traveling in Ireland and was admitted to the hospital for a week after a trip to the emergency room; we recieved a bill for housekeeping costs of 100 euros of so. (when I saw a doctor there, I think the charge for a visit with no medical insurance in the country was 25 euros)

sorry....I don;t know the availability of Zyrtec...do some research and see what name it is marketed under in Europe (if it is) - I bring all my sudafed with me form the US :-(

Boise, ID
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6. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

Good new for anyone who takes Zyrtec!!! I went to my pharmacist and talked to her about being out of the country for 12 weeks, and she had the perfect solution. Zyrtec now comes in bottles of 100 under the generic name Cetirizine Hydrochloride (10 mg each), and the whole bottle was only $10!!! that is less than 10% of the normal name-brand price. My pharmacist (at Winn-Dixie) keeps them behind the counter, so just ask. So excited I don't have to spend ~$100 on allergy drugs for the summer!

Now about that swine flu...

Boise, ID
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7. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

SouthernItaly...

I'm glad to hear that medical care abroad is more reasonable than here at home, but so sorry to hear that your family has had such bad luck with health + travel!

South Orange, New...
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8. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

well...we travel a lot...so, bound to happen!

The incidents though were spread out over the past 15 years ;-) so not as bad as it seems! aside form my son, I'm usually the one who gets sick...last trip in Nov. I had the stomach flu/or food poisoning - don't know which (didn't need to go to a doctor that time) and was in bed for two days straight and then had a horrible cold by the time we left! I blame my sensitive, American system...no idea why (I'm not usually sick at home).

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

I think it has a lot to do with plane travel... we often get colds/flu when flying, especially long flights. The air is dry, you're traveling with hundreds of others, you may not sleep well and you're stressed about making sure everything is "in place" before leaving... a recipe for bad health!

Glad to hear you received good news from your pharmacist. My generic meds have been working fine at a fraction of the cost.

Istria, Croatia
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10. Re: Glad to be getting out of here?

Some countries have reciprocal health agreements - not sure whether Italy does with the US or not. Anyway, on a trip to Italy five years ago I broke my knee on our first day there! We had been there before but it was a nightmare. The pain was excruciating but of course it changed our plans. However, we were not charged for seeing a surgeon or a radiologist for ultrasounds. Not a single penny.

Have had tummy troubles sometimes as well but always take along Imodium, Gravol for flying, Claritin for allergies, Advil cold, prescription sleeping pills, etc. We probably take too much but I like to have everything on hand just in case.

Go prepared and have a wonderful time!