Saturday, December 27, 2008

At the Sign of the Green Cross

We've had the good fortune in the health department lately. Save for the occasional cold and headache, no one has been sick and I'm especially pleased that we've avoided "le gastro" (the translation is obvious) that runs rampant each winter. I've forgotten a lot of the epidemiology that I learned in grad school but the part about hand washing definitely stuck and I credit frequent washing and strong native immune systems for the present state of affairs.

So I haven't spent a lot of time in a pharmacie, a distinctly French institution that bears little resemblance to a CVS or Walgreen's. You go to the pharmacist when you want prescriptions filled but also to consult the pharmacist for the appropriate over the counter medications for whatever ails you and these they dispense with abundance. Seriously, I have friends who go in looking for symptom relief for the garden variety winter cold and come out with five different products. There's not a whole lot else to buy there -- high end creams, soaps, and lotions and medical supplies, maybe -- but definitely no sodas, candy, school supplies, or magazines.

Pharmacies coordinate to make sure that there is always one in the neighborhood open on Sundays. (The writing "7 jours/7" on this sign indicates that it is open every day of the week). When the green lights are on, you know that the doors are open for business. The blue lights on this sign show that this particular pharmacie also stocks veterinary medicines.


Starman said...

A most interesting post. After ten years, I didn't know about the blue signal at the pharmacies.

Maria S. said...

Here in LA the green cross has been adopted by Medical Marijuana "clinics," most of which have wink-wink names such as "Secret Garden" and "Patient Care Center." Right now, there are more dispensaries in LA than there are Starbucks. (And as LA magazine pointed out both use green signage.)All this will change in a few days when the city has ordered many of them closed.

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