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Michelle May 24th, 2001 02:02 PM

Antibiotics in Italy
Yes, I'm paranoid; I just returned home from the doctor's with my eleven-year-old and he has strep. We are leaving for Italy in two weeks. If he (or any of the rest of us) should get sick on the road, must we find a doctor or do pharmacies in Italy dispense penicillin without a prescription?

Tony May 24th, 2001 02:14 PM

My wife had a chest infection when we were in Italy and was able to get antibiotics from a pharmacy in Rome without seeing a doctor. The pharmacist also gave her some wonderful liquid drug to relieve the congestion. Both were about $15 total as I recall.

Kathy May 24th, 2001 03:02 PM

Michelle, <BR>Tony's advice is spot-on. Part of the reason you don't want to go to the doctor's office is he will cordially try to give you some medicine. Problem is that pharmaceuticals manufactured in Italy have no preservatives, therefore are good for no more than 30 days. In a pharmacy, the "turnover" of drugs keeps them fresh & the pharmacist is very well informed & won't dispense something that is about to lose effectiveness. Doctors, however, usually don't pay as close attention to the meds in their offices, & your chance of picking up less-than-effective meds increase in that venue. <BR>Hope all feel well in Italy, <BR>Kathy

medic May 24th, 2001 04:39 PM

if you need antibiotics for strep be very careful. you must use the appropriate dose for the appropriate length of time or risk some very serious consequences such as rheumatic fever with cocomittant heart valve damage. check with your md as to the appropriate regieme to use if necessary

StCirq May 24th, 2001 04:52 PM

Michelle: <BR> <BR>Much as I have every confidence in the world in Italy's healthcare system, which I have found to be excellent, since you already know the child has strep, why not just get your doctor to prescribe you the penicillin before you leave and take it with you? When my son was small, he had lots of ear infections and was on antibiotics frequently. Whenever we were getting ready to travel to Europe, I got my doctor to prescribe antibiotics IN CASE he got an infection on the road. We even carried a tiny cooler to keep liquid antibiotics fresh until he was old enough to take pills. I'm sure you can get good care from an Italian pharmacist - we always have - but it might be easier just to be prepared in advance.

old nurse May 24th, 2001 06:04 PM

Keep washing your hands, don't share glasses, cups etc, keep your son on the antibiotics and make sure that he finishes the entire prescription. After he is finished call your doctor and ask to have him cultured again, just because of the trip. In two weeks the incubation period will have run and you can go in peace. Generally after 48 hours a person is no longer contagious, but with the trip I would be extra cautious. I would also take the empty Rx bottle with me in case a pharmacist in Italy should need to see what he was on, but I think it's highly unlikely you'll need one. The frustration with strep is that it is quite easily cured with the appropriate antibiotic but can cause terrible damage if left untreated. Have a good trip.

Michelle May 24th, 2001 06:16 PM

Thanks to all for the information. <BR> <BR>StCirq, my son is currently being treated for his strep. This episode gave rise to my concern about our trip to Europe so I asked the doctor if he would prescribe an antibiotic "just in case." My son has had ear infections in the past, twice resulting in perforations. You would have thought I was asking for a morphine prescription by the doctor's reaction. If it is 36 hours before we have to board a plane and my son is complaining at length about a sore ear, I don't want to have to find a doctor and then go to a pharmacy. I will risk "antibiotic overuse" in such a situation! And I'll follow the current prescription and contact the doctor when we get home.

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