Tuesday, October 7, 2014

German Apothek: cold and flu

In honor of being sick for the millionth time this month (darn you Kindergarten full of germs!) I thought I'd write an informative blog post about over the counter cold and flu medication.  

Chances are if you are an expat in Germany at least once you went to the Apothek miserable with a cold and walked out with some kind of homeopathic medicine that didn't seem to help at all.  I haven't met any expats who don't miss the over the counter medicines from back home.  For a long time I thought cold medicine didn't really work here.  That's not so.  Germany has pretty much the same cold medicine we have in the States, you just have to know what it's called and ask for it by name.  Don't trust the pharmacists to tell you what to take!  They always recommend the more natural homeopathic treatments.  Even better is having the doctor write you a prescription.  Our health insurance covers almost all prescriptions, even over the counter stuff. 

First things first, a daytime decongestant that actually works!  Just be careful you don't take it with paracetamol. 

Wick DayMed Erkältungs-Kapseln
For night time cold and flu suffering I love this cough syrup.   It is slightly less effective than the green flavor but it tastes so much better.  If you need something stronger buy the green death flavor, it has a couple of extra ingredients (mainly alcohol) that make it taste horrible but also work better. 

MediNait Erkältungssirup = cough syrup
These throat numbing cough drops are fantastic.
Halstabletten = cough drops

If tablet decongestants aren't working well enough try this nose spray.  They also make this nose spray for toddlers but good luck administering it!  Sometimes if we do it super fast we can get it up our child's nose before she has time to make a plan of resistance.  It really does help, but sometimes it's not worth the fight with a cranky sick kid :)

For regular pain relief I like Ibuprofin.  Beware, it has the same name in Germany but is pronounced differently.   Also called Ibu-ratiopharm.

 Tylenol goes by the name Paracetamol in Germany.  Remember, German pronunciation means it sounds nothing like how you would say it in English.
For babies and small children liquid pain relief is the way to go.  Some pediatricians will always prescribe suppository medication for babies so I always ask for Saft (liquid) medications.  Depending on the age of your child you can get 2% or 5%.  Sometimes is comes with a spoon or a Dosierspritze (syringe).  I found that the Dosierspritze works way better for babies and toddlers. 

Ibuprofin in liquid form for for babies.
Paracetamol (Tylenol) in liquid form for babies.
Histamine blocker for those with allergies.  They have all different types, this is just the one we happened to have on hand.

Lastly kids cough syrup to help toddlers get rest at night.

This covers the basics for over the counter cold and flu treatments in Germany.  If you are looking for a particular brand of medication but don't know the German name you can easily find out the name online.  If you Google the English name most common drugs have a Wikipedia page that will tell you name of the drug in different countries.   I usually use this when my doctor prescribes me something I'm not familiar with and I want to read about the side effect etc. in English.  

And if you really hate going to the Apothek know that most over the counter medications can be bought cheaper on Amazon.de, sometimes even in bulk.

Gute Besserung,