Thursday, September 10, 2009

How to: Buy Antiobiotics Abroad and Use Them

If your ass has been turned into a rectal firehose after dining in a third world country (or maybe just at a McDonalds in France) and you desperately need antibiotics, the last thing you want to worry about is finding a doctor/making an appointment/fighting through language barriers/having enough money to get a prescription.

Luckily, most undeveloped countries don't require prescriptions. You can walk into almost any pharmacy in, say, Central America or Southeast Asia and simply buy them. And having them can save your vacation.

I'm frustrated it's not the same in America.  I once was on a road trip when a sore throat that had only mildly bothered me when leaving Oklahoma became Freddy Krueger masturbating my esophagus by the time I was in Arizona.

I knew, 100% knew, what I needed: a course of Amoxicillin. But of course I couldn't buy it on my own, and a walk-in clinic (which prescribed me exactly that) later billed me $247. My insurance didn't cover it because I was out of network, and I had to grit my teeth and pay it. All because I needed someone else's permission to treat myself.

Fast forward to the Peace Corps and suddenly I felt like an adult. Since a quick medical response was unlikely at our far-flung work sites, we were each given antibiotics to take with us and taught how to use them. Finally my health was in my own hands.

So I can now pass on my knowledge to you and you can take your health into your own hands.

When you get abroad, pick up: 

1.  Thirty 250mg tablets of Amoxcicillin
2.  Ten 500mg tablets of Ciproflaxcin.

Amoxcicillin is a penicillin class antibiotic, and you should take one three times a day for ten days for:

A.  Bronchitis and pneumonia (you're coughing up yellow or green phlem)
B.  Throat infections (it burns to swallow)
C.  Urinary tract infections (it burns to pee)
D.  Gonorrhea (it really burns to pee; and you've recently slept with a drunk Canadian)

Ciprofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone class antibiotic and you should take one twice a day for five days for:

A.  Infections diarrhea (particularly if water is coming out of your ass)
B.  Food poisoning
C.  Skin and wound infections (redness is spreading or red lines start progressing away from the wound)
C.  Urinary tract and bladder infections

If in doubt--particularly about food poisoning--, I recommend taking the Cipro anyway. I wouldn't recommend that in America, but time and health are so important while traveling that most of us can't afford several days or even weeks of being out of commission. Be prepared and you'll find that while the guy in the next bunk is groaning and clutching his stomach, you'll be ready to slip on your shoes and see more of the world.

And hopefully you'll be nice enough to prescribe him some antibiotics.

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