The inside of my elbow swelled up and it was burning and itching. Hardly, a medical emergency, but enough discomfort for me to seek out some treatment information. I couldn’t help it, before I knew it, the Education and Outreach Coordinator part of me had a nagging question related to work, even though I was on vacation visiting some French friends in the city of St. Etienne (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-%C3%89tienne, I had to know, where do the French go when they are looking for health information?
I was just about get onto the MedlinePlus.gov website. Thinking smugly to myself, how clever am I to use this sting experience as way to share my favorite health and medical website MedlinePlus.gov, with my French friends? Before I could even type Insect Bites and Stings in the search box, Jeanne Marie offered to take me to the “Chemist” (the French name for “pharmacist.”) Little did I know that my sting would provide me with a lesson (and a blog post!) about the difference between French pharmacies and American pharmacies. “We don’t look for information on the internet because our “chemists” are highly trained to provide medical information.”
I agreed to visit to the chemist who was located just a few miles away. After asking me a few questions and looking at my arm, the Chemist, went to a nearby shelf and came back with a a tube of hydrocortisone. She instructed, “Rub this lotion on the sting site 2 times each day.” I followed her instructions and it took only a couple of hours for the swelling to go down and the itching and burning to stop.
Here are some interesting facts that I learned about pharmacies in France (on my vacation no less!)
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