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Local medicines for fighting cold & flu

To call it an epidemic might be a little sensationalist but the fact is that this year a LOT of people are coming down with either tummy bugs, colds or the flu. Here is our list of local medicines for fighting cold & flus. Please bear in mind that this is a list of suggestions only, always go to your doctor should you have any doubts.

The hardcore over the counter stuff

Let’s start with the big guns, unfortunately it is not possible to get Advil or Tylenol here; I have found Panadol to offer relief if you like paracetemol, but have been using Irfen Dolo L 400 (Ibuprofen) against migraines and to help reduce my fever and any inflammation I may be suffering from. The first time I used it, it felt as if someone put a soothing blanket over my pain and now I know it’s working because I can feel it when it starts to wear off. This is strong stuff so only take one every 6 to 8 hours and don’t mix with other medicine.

The Swiss love their Neocitran, this is the equivalent to Lemsip and it basically is paracetamol and vitamin C to be drunk hot. Some people swear by Pretuval C but I found that it made feel really woozy.

For sore throats you can get a lot of international brands but I have found Mebucaïne to be most effective. I usually take a couple during the day but especially one just before bedtime and will have no sore throat (and sometimes have stopped the cold in its tracks that way).

In Switzerland the Vicks NyQuil products are known as Medinait, although it doesn’t contain exactly the same dosage as the original it can help to you to have a good night sleep sleep.

The more “natural” approach

I use these as complimentary remedies.

The first thing I take as soon as I feel signs of falling ill is Spagyrom drops, they also come in tablets but I find the drops swirled in a lukewarm glass of water to be the most effective at helping preventing colds or accelerating the healing process.

Sinupret forte is a homeopathic medicine claiming to help with blocked sinuses, it works well for me but not for Rolf, so the jury is still out on that one.

My personal favourite is a nice hot toddy before bed time. I mix fresh ginger, lemon juice, honey and a splash of whisky hot water and sip before bedtime, if nothing else I will have sweet dreams!

The virtue of the humble onions

The Swiss believe that onions can cure many things and I must admit that I have been putting half a cut onion in Isabelle’s bedroom whenever her nose has been stuffed up and the consequence is that her sinuses dry up and she will sleep through the night. But there are many other ways that you can use onions, you can make your own cough syrup with it, or use as a paste on a cloth to help with congestions. Just beware that you will end up smelling like a New York hotdog!

Children’s medicine

Here are my top 3 medicines always in Isabelle’s cabinet:

Algifor Dolo Junior, which is ibuprofen in children dosages.

Nitux to help suppress coughing at night

Bisolvon to help with coughing during the day

For chronic coughs I found that Fluimucil in powder form to be drunk in a glass of water helped her the best, although it is significantly more expensive.

As I previously mentioned this post is about my personal experience and in now way should it be a substitute to you getting medical advice, either by going to your doctor or one of the emergency services, here is a table that can be used as a guide as to whether you can try and sit it out aqt home or go to doctor, but again should you have any doubts always go to your general practitioner


Prevention is the best solution and the number one rule is to wash your hands regularly a recent article suggests that it’s actually less risky to kiss someone who has a cold than to hold their hands!

Finally here is a previous post on the subject.

Stay healthy!!

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.