Every country is different when it comes to the types of over-the-counter medicine one can buy. In the case of Norway, you’ll find that this is not a culture that does much self-medication, at least with regard to typical nonprescription medicines found around the world. I suppose for Norwegians the excessive drinking is self-medication enough!
As a foreigner in Norway, however, that might leave you without access to your favorite drug store cold medicines and even the most basic vitamins. The truth is, there is very little of either available in Norway, or what is available can best be described as very, very wimpy. Usually, the local Norwegian versions have low dosage amounts, and your options are also extremely limited.
If you need to chug an entire bottle of Nyquil to get to sleep at night, I’m not one to judge, but to a Norwegian this would seem very strange, perhaps borderline drug abuse. If you speak to any Norwegian about not feeling well, even if that person is a doctor, they’ll probably recommend a few simple remedies. These usually consists of taking a mild painkiller (known locally as paracet) or having some fish oil (yuck!), and they will also recommend you go take a walk to get some fresh air and sun. Yes, for Norwegians the cure to whatever ails you is almost always nature.
However, if those aren’t going to cut it, or you have very specific needs, you have little choice but to join the underground drug smuggling ring of us fellow expats. This takes the form of cramming your suitcases with medicines each time you return from your home country. It is not recommended to try to have these medicines mailed into Norway because they can often be discovered by the customs department and confiscated.
A few more pro tips: most of the medicines from outside of Norway are not allowed in the country, but if you’re traveling into Norway, you’re allowed to bring anything needed for the duration of your visit. To avoid raising too much suspicion, don’t bring an excessive amount of any single medicine. It also helps to open the packaging and make it appear the product is actually being used. If you, for example, roll up with twenty boxes of unopened aspirin, it’ll be difficult to argue you need so much for your time in Norway.
You can also find some health needs from online retailers such as iHerb. Just note that because these retailers are typically outside of Norway, you may need to pay a customs tax to import products.
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