Picture this – after a full day of your stomach hurting on your once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Mexico, you decide to check out the local pharmacy to see if it has anything to help you feel a bit better. Not knowing Spanish, you spend the next few minutes perusing the aisles, seeing if you can find anything that looks remotely similar to what you remember back home, but the labels are confusing and impossible to read.
After no luck, you try striking up a conversation with the cashier at the front counter, only to find out that they don’t know English and have no clue what medications you’re talking about. Even a simple game of charades doesn’t do you any good! And just like that, you find yourself at a standstill, left to decide whether to tough through the pain or spend the next half hour looking up medications on Google until you eventually find the alternative you’re looking for.
This is the unfortunate reality for many travelers abroad who can’t find the medications they need with the same ease they normally experience. And truthfully, travelers aren’t alone – pharmacists recognize the barriers to access too. A survey of 498 pharmacists from leading public pharmacies in Switzerland found that 79.8% perceived that patients who speak a different language have a somewhat or much higher risk of adverse drug events compared to other patients.
Although this data is not representative of the entire issue at hand, it serves as a reminder that there is clearly a demand for travel health information that is not fragmented and simple enough for the layman to understand anywhere in the world. To date, only a handful of databases are available that attempt to tell users about medication equivalents between countries, and none are as user-friendly and exhaustive as the resource provided by Wander Health, your travel care companion.
While we may all know and love the pain reliever acetaminophen, more commonly known by a name like Tylenol, such specific American brands are very hard to come by abroad. As such, knowing that the same product in, say, Mexico is called paracetamol is extremely important, as this is what allows you to enjoy your travels without having to worry about the medications you need not being nearby.
Making sure to pack your bags with the medications you reach for regularly is always a great first step, but it can’t be a catch-all solution – accidents are bound to happen. That’s why having Wander Health in your back pocket is the best way to know where to get the medications you need when you’re in a pinch, or even when your feet have just gotten sore from a full day of walking!