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Over the Counter Cures

Czech lekarna

A handy guide to locally-available under-the-weather remedies...

So you wake up feeling like hovno, stumble to your war chest of over-the-counter remedies from home, and realize that your once-plentiful stock of pills, liquids and powders is gone; except for a couple aspirin and a Midol... now what??

Remember your first day of school?

You probably do because it was most likely quite traumatic; never before had you felt such disorientation and confusion. Everything was different, strange and new. Now, imagine how your immune system felt when you landed here in the Czech Republic. Wherever you’re from, the “system shock” associated with new environments eventually gets us all in the end; leaving us open to whatever local bugs are hanging around. Whether it’s the full-blown flu, a nagging head cold, or the after-effects of a typical night out in Prague.

Save your time and skip Tesco, our almost-like-home standby offers no help in this time of need. The real help is in the friendly, neighborhood lekarna. Just look for the shimmering green cross and prepare to restock your war chest and bring on the better living through chemistry.

After all, this is Prague, not Portland. Remember what your doctor tells you: drink lots of fluids, and try one of the following remedies.

For those suffering from the common cold, you have a few choices; drops, spray, or tablets. Olynt spray runs about 50Kč and Sanorin, which comes in drops or spray runs about 35 . For sinus colds, try Rhinopront tablets and spray for about 85Kč. All three are guaranteed to open you right up and let it flow. For the more serious colds, and the wave after wave of flu mini-epidemics that hit us during the winter, Paralen and Panadol tablets work for fever and are cheaper than sugar pills, about 8Kč each.

Both brands offer a beefed-up version to combat the fever/cough/congestion combo; Paralen Plus and Panadol Extra (both about 70Kč/24 tabs). Coldrex covers all the bases as tablets, a hot drink remedy, a cough syrup, and (ooh yes) Coldrex Nite, which is as close to Nyquil as you’ll get. For any residual aches, pains or headaches, there’s the ultimate pink weapon, 400mg Ibuprofen (“I can’t believe it’s not crack”), which sell for just over 1Kč/pill.

For sore throats, Strepsils are throat lozenges that come in a few flavors and start at about 100Kč/24pack. Variations include: lozenges suplemented with Vitamin C-, as well as Zinc-flavored ones, which claim to boost immunity. Plus, they make the thick, brown Prague-smog taste good!

On a serious note, another all-too-common ailment here is Angina, which is the Czech name for tonsillitis-and strep throat-type infections. So if your sore throat doesn’t clear up in a day or so, get thee to a doctor. Strep infections have been known to cause some nasty complications if left untreated. Better safe than pneumonia.

Ok, so now that our chemical brothers and sisters are doped up and passed out on the futon in front of a TV show they can’t understand, I can offer a little advice for those who prefer a more natural approach. If tea is your thing, most Lekarnas also carry a healthy selection of tea-based remedies with varying herbal and medicinal additives, most for under 50Kč You can also pick up any one of the many seltzer tablet vitamin and mineral supplements available in Lekarnas for about 15-20Kč.

It’s almost impossible to spend any time here and not hear a wealth of local remedies, my favorites being: garlic soup, Pivo, Grog, and good ol’ Becherovka.

So whether you lick it, slam it, or suck it, you’ll be back on your feet in no time. And with the holidays coming up, who wants to be stuck in bed nursing a cold or fever? We’d all rather be nursing a cocktail instead.

HOW ARE YOU / JAK SE MAŠ?

I have a runny nose: Mám rýmu

I have the flu: Mám chřipku

I have a fever: Mám horečku

I have a stuffy nose: Mám ucpaný nos

I have a cough: Mám kašel

I have a sore throat: Bolí mě v krku

I have a headache: Bolí mě hlava

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