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Covid medicine recommendation to bring on trip

Hopefully, I will not get covid while traveling in England, but if I do, what medicine do you suggest I bring with me on my trip?

Posted by
7124 posts

Most people suggest medicine to deal with possible symptoms which often mimic cold/flu symptoms. What would you take for cough, fever, or sore throat at home?

Posted by
3759 posts

This is a question you should ask your GP as only he or she knows what is optimal for you.

Posted by
3922 posts

Definitely ask your health care provider, if you have any chronic health issues. Otherwise, the usual cold/flu otc remedies. SIL had COVID a couple of weeks ago and went through copious amounts of Gatorade, as well as ibuprofen and acetaminophen . So you may want to take along packets of electrolyte hydration powders as well.

Posted by
24005 posts

I think it matters whether you'll be traveling solo or not. I usually am, so if I wake up feeling rotten, I don't have someone who can run to the drug store for me. I take lots of things with me and have been doing so since 2015. A younger/different person wouldn't need some of the meds I travel with.

I've avoided COVID so far, and people's symptoms vary, but this is what I have with me that might be helpful: acetaminophen (Tylenol, often called paracetamol in Europe), ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), basic throat lozenges for a sore throat (I use Strepsils in Europe), expectorant and cough suppressant. The last two I don't normally use at home, but I tend to pick up a case of bronchitis when I travel. All of the above should be readily available just about anywhere in Europe (no guarantees about Albania because I haven't been there).

I always travel with a copious quantity of high-zinc lozenges (Cold-eeze or the CVS generic) which are very effective in moderating my colds by eliminating the runny nose and the sore throat that often follows. They don't work for everyone, and I've read nothing to suggest they'd be helpful with COVID symptoms, but since COVID often begins with cold symptoms and it can take days to test positive when you have it, I figure I'd want the zinc lozenges at the beginning in case I just had a cold. High-zinc lozenges do not appear to be available anywhere in Europe, and I've been known to have two colds during one trip; that's why I travel with a sizable supply. Note: Zinc lozenges are highly likely to affect your sense of taste! After one experience when nothing tasted right for two weeks, I limit myself to three lozenges a day for no more than four days.

Because of COVID I am traveling with a thermometer this year.

I think you can find rehydration salts in powdered form. If you're worried about needing something like that a few packets won't take up much room in your luggage. I looked for Gatorade or a local equivalent without success when I came down with a bacterial gastro illness in Slovenia in 2015, but the powder was available at a pharmacy.

Posted by
1613 posts

My symptoms with Covid went from:

1) Raging sore throat- I swore I had strep throat. NOTHING soothed it (Advil, Tylenol, Chloraseptic). I survived on popsicles and hard candies.

2) Soon followed by head cold/respiratory cold: fever, congestion, coughing, productive cough, body aches, fatigue. Tylenol cold & sinus helped with those symptoms. But I was in bed for a week.

I would definitely bring whatever works to treat cold & flu symptoms for you, since that may not be readily available there. I’d also bring throat lozenges of some kind, or buy them there just in case.

Posted by
149 posts

Anaesthetic throat spray saved me when I had Covid last month, my throat felt like I was swallowing knives and was definitely the worst symptom. Other than that, paracetamol, ibuprofen and cough meds.

Posted by
6113 posts

Throat lozenges, pain relief etc are widely available everywhere in Europe so maybe you could buy them there if needed?

Posted by
2765 posts

First would be anything specific to your own medical needs. And extras of any of your normal prescriptions in case you get sick and can’t come home for a week extra.

Then I’d look at pain/fever things like Tylenol, and whatever you like for cold type illness.

More importantly I’d suggest a thermometer - it’s good to know how your fever is and, worst case, be able to call a doctor and say it’s too high and get medical advice.

Posted by
1735 posts

Mucinex! I was an absolute snot-monster when I had The Rona, and keeping that stuff loose was vital.

Posted by
614 posts

The high dose 1000mg slow release vitamin C supplement Ester-C does seem to help us prevent the usual travel colds. We always bring a supply with us.

We (2 60+ seniors) just suffered our first outbreak in our home - a bout with BA.5. My partner had a rather severe case while mine turned out to be rather inconsequential. His symptoms involved a bad fever, headache, severe body aches and pains especially in the back and a severe sore throat that the usual OTC products would not relieve. My symptoms were an irritated throat for several days and a mild fever.

You will definitely need a thermometer.

I'd recommend having a surplus of test kits. We discovered some flaws in both Binax and iHealth tests and had to retake them several times.

We consulted with our PCP who quite deliberately considered whether Paxlovid was an option. He decided that there were no reasons we shouldn't take it and I picked our Rx's within 30 minutes. I was really glad that our doctor of 20 years was so careful about prescribing, Paxlovid worked much faster for me than for my partner. I felt better within a day while it took 5 full days for my partner to have some semblance of relief. I can't imagine how long he would have suffered without it. Neither of us suffered any "rebound" effect.

Ibuprofen was essential for both of us. It helps relieve the aches, pains and fever. Also, I'm unable to take acetaminophen due to side effects.

OTC sore throat lozenges were of minimal help to my partner. The expectorant/cough suppressant in Mucinex provided the most help to my partner. The night time version with antihistamine helped him sleep. I found a larger heating pad for him that helped relieve his back pain and enabled a better sleep. I think it also helped to clear his lungs. The doctor was reluctant to prescribe anything beyond the OTC items. Chloraseptic throat spray and lozenges helped him the most.

Vicks menthol lozenges seemed the most helpful for my mild symptoms. I only needed Mucinex on day 2.

Don't take anything with pseudoephedrine if you have high blood pressure. Mira suggests, bring several extra weeks worth of your maintenance prescriptions.

We would bring:

1000mg slow release Ester-C vitamin C
ibuprofen (lots of it)
Mucinex both daytime and nighttime versions
Chloraseptic spray and lozenge items
Vicks menthol lozenges
a good supply of tests

Posted by
97 posts

I concur with everyone above. My husband and I finally tested negative a whopping 15 days after our first positive tests one month ago. We literally feel like we lost the month of July and then our grandkids got sick with Covid so more time quarantined. We are mid 60s and we were both very Ill. We are fully vaxed.
My list
Vit C
There’s nothing much you can do about the exhaustion but B12 certainly will help. Stay the course. Good luck!

Posted by
81 posts

Many good recommendations in the previous comments. We are just back from a 2 week trip to NW Italy and SE France. We took a COVID relief first aid kit with us on our trip - mostly for my wife and her mom. Happily we did not need it. After being fully vaccinated and double boosted, I got COVID during a road trip to Yellowstone NP during June. Amazingly, my wife did not develop COVID symptoms despite being in close quarters which each other. I suspect she had a better immune response to the vaccines than I did. I suspect pet my best protection was antibodies from getting COVID.

Based on my symptoms from my June bout with COVID, our kit contained: Tylenol, Advil, Mucinex, Ricola cough drops, Sudafed 12 hour, and throat lozenges containing benzocaine and dextromethorphan. Everyone's signs and symptoms vary to some degree if they get COVID. By far, my worst symptom was a persistent cough worsening when laying down to sleep. The only thing that gave me relief was the throat lozenges containing benzocaine and dextromethorphan. Fatigue and body aches were the next symptoms. Rest and analgesics did the trick.

I definitely think you should bring a small kit along with you. There is nothing worse than developing symptoms of whatever and then having to find a pharmacy to buy needed supplies. Brand names are different than what you may be familiar with at home. Depending on where you might be, English may not be spoken well by Pharmacy staff. I can tell you that when I had COVID, the last thin I would have wanted to deal with would be using a Translate app.

Happy and safe travels.

Posted by
7728 posts

I and everyone I know who had it used Mucinex. Covers multiple symptoms. It doesnt cure it but made it bearable.

Posted by
271 posts

Nobody yet has suggested an oximeter- I haven't traveled again since Covid began but I would definitely want mine, along with the thermometer others mentioned. I have traveled (always carry on) with the latter just fine, not sure if there's an issue with the oximeter and security?
These posts and the varied symptoms and severity are another good reminder about how unpredictable this constantly mutating virus is- some people seem to have mild cold- like symptoms easily managed with whatever OTC meds you use. Others have either specific symptoms (raging, debilitating headache for my SIL, he literally couldn't move for 2 days) or just feel overall awful (spouse, went without a mask "just for a little while🙄)and then the usual stuff doesn't really help. The room where he isolated (10 days till a negative test) looked like a drugstore. Nothing worked
So, I will add to bring a supply of and consistently wear a high- quality N95 mask- your best defense is a good offense. I was the only staff member at my huge public school still wearing a mask (and eating outside- only time it came off) in June and the only one that I know of who didn't get Covid. Ditto for my one domestic travel last fall- that's me in the mask in the wedding pics.
I find that's most productive, when those around me continue to think it's like a "cold" and do their maskless thing

Posted by
84 posts

You won't have any "covid" medicine per se, but if you are looking to pack medicine to help with symptoms, then any medicine you use normally when you get sick with the related symptoms.

Posted by
330 posts

I plan to bring DayQuil and NyQuil on my tour in late September. It helped me a ton when I had Covid back in April. I was still able to work (WFH) and I slept like a baby at night. I also plan to bring cough drops. The cough is the one thing that did linger for quite a while for me. I also take daily multivitamins and had a sinus tincture.

I don't trust Paxlovid with the rebound potential.

Posted by
7728 posts

They have good OTC medicine over there too, so I don't think you have to overthink it.

Posted by
16 posts

I am so sorry for those of you who got covid. I hope I never do. Being 70 and in good health, I don't know how my body will respond if I do get it. I am going to put together a covid kit and your suggestions were so very helpful to me. My RS trip is in September and now I feel better prepared in case I do get it. Thank you so much.

Posted by
11884 posts

"not sure if there's an issue with the oximeter and security?"

@Karen....I've had no issue at all on the 2 international trips I've done in the last year. I read a blog post by Cameron Hewitt last Fall and at the last minute raced around to find a pulse oximeter at a local pharmacy (we were having a local spike then). I pack it in my electronics cube with my charger cords as well as the digital thermometer and that goes in my personal item.

Posted by
221 posts

Karen, I completely agree with you regarding the added protection of an N95 mask; we will be using ours again on our trip to Italy. We successfully managed 3.5 weeks in France in May staying healthy.

Like others I bring the range of cold medicines as in pre Covid times, I would invariably end up feeling the cold coming on through the night, or the one time with norovirus, I was happy to have medicines to help with symptoms. I have zero interest trying to find stuff at a pharmacy once I feel unwell.

Posted by
4 posts

Agree with all the suggestions here. And if there are 2 of you, bring twice as much medicine! I also was very nauseous from Covid and Dramamine was a huge help.

Posted by
3031 posts

I treated my recent case of COLDvid with a groundbreaking drug called Tylenol Cold & Sinus. I’m sure you can buy an equivalent anywhere in Europe so I wouldn’t waste precious packing space bringing that kind of thing from home.

Weird assumption - it varies in Europe but a lot of OTC medicines we take for granted in the US require going to a pharmacy and speaking with a pharmacist to acquire in Europe and even then it may not be the same or as strong as the Nyquil or Mucinex we Americans are used to using. They have different ideas about this stuff in Europe. In Germany you're as likely to be given an herbal remedy and instructed to rest than anything substantial if you encounter the wrong pharmacist and you may need a prescription for stuff you can easily get at Walgreen's at home.

When I travel (I buy American meds at my commissary) I make a little baggie of things I might want or need that I know are difficult to get, from Aleve to Immodium. I don't bring whole boxes/bottles, just a few pills to get me through should I become ill and want symptom relief.

One thing I'd recommend is zinc lozenges like Cold-Eeze - and be careful because a lot of the "zinc" stuff is just homeopathic crap. The actual lozenges you have to use for what seems like hours (and 6 times a day!) that leave the horrible metallic taste in your mouth DO work - maybe not for Covid but absolutely for the common cold, which I've caught twice this year while traveling. What would have been a week of feeling awful turned into 48 hours of not feeling great thanks to religious use of these things which do have clinically proven results. I don't travel without them anymore.

Posted by
3740 posts

My husband and daughter used Nyquil and Dayquil and my husband used Chloroseptic for his sore throat. And of course headache medicine-but be careful of amounts of painkillers,since they may also be present in the Nyquil and Dayquil.

EDITED: Several local stores in our area of Charleston were completely empty of these types of medicines. Don't wait until you're actually sick to stock up-and when you're sick you really shouldn't be in stores.

Posted by
1917 posts

Dayquil, Nyquil, Mucenix and cough drops. I had Covid with medium cold symptoms and a headache. This combo did the trick!

Posted by
15113 posts

I take about a 2 day supply of a lot of what is mentioned above,, but I leave the medicine cabinet at home and if I feel sick go to the pharmacy and describe the symptoms. They will make suggestions.