Saturday, December 27, 2008

Korean Over-The-Counter Medicine

Winter is that lovely time of the year when you wear more than one layer of clothing and have to spend 5 minutes getting your coat and everything on before you leave the house.

It is also the season of sneezing, coughing and runny noses. As a teacher one of the benefits is that you pay for a portion of health insurance. This means that you can go visit a doctor without the typical hassle one might encounter from a doctor back in America. For example, when I needed to visit a doctor back home if I had a bad flu I would have to go to the open clinic. Where I would sit and wait for an hour to see a Doctor. The fees would have been high too, I guess it depends on what insurance one had in America. (I had none)

Anyways, visiting a doctor here is not so hard. But like the post-office and Bank the doctor's office closes around 5pm here, that is for the English speaking doctor. So to get to him in time I have to request to leave work early.

The week before last I developed a cough and requested to see the doctor. But the doctor told me I didn't need medicine.

To this day I am still coughing. And within the past few weeks I have been to pharmacies getting non-prescription medicine, or over-the-counter meds.

Pharmacies here are not like the one's back home, where you walk into the drugstore and there are rows and rows of shelves selling over-the-counter products. Here a pharmacy usually has a few self-care things in the front, such as band-aids, toothpaste, vitamins but to get to the drugs you need to ask the person at the counter.

Apparently the "over-the-counter" drugs here are found behind the counter. Access to drugs like Tylenol can be given to you upon request.

With the use of my cell phone's dictionary I was able to retrieve a few cough medicines from the pharmacist.

Now for you is a pictorial review of the medicines I have collected.

Neocol-F are like cough medicine in pill form. These have the drug Guaifenesin, which is good for clearing you of snot. But it also dehydrates you, so drink a lot of water.

I would say this drug is effective at slowing down the cough rate and making things feel a little clearer. But I am still coughing so it isn't a miracle cure.

The next drug is called Hardy Cough F tab. I could not find any Internet info on it. But I asked BK what the difference is and he said this one is a lot stronger than the Neocol-F. I could definitely feel more of a difference with these and when taken at night I don't wake up coughing. But like I said I am still coughing, so still not a miracle cure.

And for a runny nose I found the medicine CONTAC Gold is similar to the American brand Contac drugs. It has a decongestant in it Phenylpropanolamine to clear up your sinuses. This drug worked really well when I had a non-stop runny and sneezy nose. I have also tried to use it to clear up the snot riding down my throat to stop the cough, but without success.

All of these medicines had no serious side effects except dehydration like I mentioned before. Also they were all pretty cheap coming in at 2000 Won (1.50 USD). Of course there are only about 10-12 tablets inside, which isn't a whole lot.

In general, if you can't get to a doctor here in Korea for ailments such as the cold or flu you can try to get these over-the-counter meds to help you feel better.

But the best medicine of all (rest and chicken soup) can only be found if you got the time and a can.

Anyways, hopefully my cough will start to go away. It isn't terrible just annoying.


  1. sure let's connect on facebook! i'll text you my email address for facebook=^^=

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  3. hi there , thanks for ur description of cough medicine found in korea. i was looking for hardy cough f tabs effects and side effects. which i am also taking now. still not strong enough though. I am taking jedam syrup too. hope i ll recover soon and join my work back.

  4. The best medicine is water, healthy food and rest. Sometimes though with a cough medicine can make things worse. I would try a day without medicine to see if it helps. :) feel better~


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