Health and Medical Issues


When you are sick with a mild cold or flu symptoms (cough, sore throat, etc.)

Go to a pharmacy to get some medicine.  You can ask the pharmacist to recommend a brand after describing your symptoms or find it on your own.  In addition to getting, non-prescription medicine like ibuprofen and/or cough syrup, you can eat soup and other comfort foods, drink a hot tea, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, and get lots of rest.  Feel free to let Curt, Alicia, or Ann know via email or when you see them next in person.

Am I sick enough to see a doctor?

You should think about seeing a doctor in the following circumstances:

  • If you have been sick for multiple days without any improvement in symptoms

  • If you need prescription medicine

  • If you are not sure what type of sickness you have

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and everyone has their own criteria for when they should see a doctor.  Contact us by phone or email if you need help coordinating to see a doctor.

How do I go to a doctor in Argentina?

a) Go to the on-call doctors at a hospital: Almost all hospitals in Argentina have what is called guardia, which is similar to the ER in the United States.  You do not need an appointment to go to the guardia.  You walk in and explain your symptoms at reception so that they can send you to the right doctor.  When going to a hospital, take your original passport with you for identification and take your medical insurance card.  Be sure to save all receipts for any payments made in order to submit insurance claims for reimbursement, as needed.  If you would like to be accompanied to the hospital, simply call Curt, Alicia, or Ann to request help.

Recommended Hospitals in Buenos Aires City:

b) Call a doctor to come to your apartment:

Just like getting pizza or ice cream delivered, you can also get a doctor to come to your apartment.  This is ideal in cases where your illness prevents you from making the trip to the hospital. 

I have a medical emergency

In the case of medical emergency, do not hesitate to call an ambulance right away! (Dial 107 from any cell phone or land line. These emergency calls will go through even if you do not have cell phone credit.) If you are at home, your roommate or host can also help you call an ambulance. 

Any ambulance will take you to the nearest hospital for treatment.  Do not worry about insurance in this case, as the most important thing is to get treatment as soon as possible. Once you have secured an ambulance, call Curt, Alicia, or Ann to update them about your situation and so that they can join you at the hospital.


Drugstore Dictionary

  • Ibuprofen (Advil) = Ibuprofeno (Ibupirac, Actron) → headache, pain reliever, fever

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) = Paracetamol (not chemically identical) → (non-blood thinner) headache, pain, fever, menstrual cramps

  • Aspirin = Aspirina (Bayaspirina, Cafiaspirina) → headache, pain reliever, fever

  • Antiacid (Tums, Mylanta) = antiácido, bicarbonato de sodio (Tums, Alikal, Uvasal, Mylanta, Omeprazol, Pantoprazol) → acid indigestion, heartburn, sour stomach

  • Midol = IbuEvanol, Ibupirac Fem, → menstrual cramping, PMS

  • Tampons (O.B., Tampax) = tampones (O.B., no applicators)

  • Sanitary Pads = toallitas femeninas

  • Panty liners = Carefree

  • Allergies (Benadryl, Claritan) = antialérgico (Benadryl, Aerotina Loratadina, Alercas) → runny nose, watery eyes, scratchy eyes, nose or throat

  • Decongestant (Sudafed, Dayquil, Vicks VapoRub) = descongestivo (Tabcin Plus, Vicks VapoRub, Refrianex, Qura, Qura Plus) → pain reliever, nasal decongestant, expectorant, common cold

  • Laxative (Exlax, milk of magnesia) = laxante, picosulfato de sodio (leche de magnesia) → constipation

  • Anti cough medicine = Antigripal → cough

  • Contact solution = Líquido/solución de contactos (Opti-Free, Renu)→ contact disinfectant and cleanser

  • Cough drops = caramelos de miel o propoleo → sore throat

  • Infections = infecciones (Cefalexina, Levofloxacina, Amoxidal)

  • Herpes = herpes (crema Aciclovir)

  • Cocoa butter = manteca de cacao

  • Condom = preservativo

  • Plan B = Anticoncepción Hormonal de Emergencia (AHE) → take within 48 hours; no prescription needed

It's important to remember that many medicines are different strengths than their U.S. equivalents, so always ask your pharmacist or doctor about your dosage. And many of the medicines that require a prescription in the U.S. may not require one in Argentina.

Pharmacies take turns being open 24 hours. Head to your local pharmacy, and if it is not open, it will usually have a sign directing you to the nearest open one. The most popular drugstore is called Farmacity, and there is a branch in just about every neighborhood. Smaller drugstores, called farmacias, (designated with the square shaped cross) will carry many of the same items, but will likely not keep everything out on the floor; you will have to ask the pharmacist to give you what you need from behind the counter.