I remember back in my first year of uni (which feels like many years ago), one of the tutors told us they once knew a student who liked to go and try out over-the-counter (OTC) medications so that they would be better able to counsel patients about these. But, of course, it would be irresponsible and going against the “Quality Use of Medicines” principles to use a medication if you didn’t have the condition being treated, so they had to somehow have/get the specific ailments first.
Now, I’m not sure if they went out of their way to get cold sores, diarrhoea, common cold symptoms, heartburn and other conditions treatable with OTC medicines, but they supposedly worked their way through a fair few products (I’m not sure which — I just chose some random examples here).
Anyway… I never took this approach to my learning, but I suppose there are some things that are useful to try in order to make better recommendations to others. I discovered this in this last week when I got food poisoning and became very dehydrated. I’ll spare you the details, but I was quite unwell for several days, and wasn’t eating or drinking much in case it made me throw up.
(Side note: I don’t think I’ve ever had food poisoning before, and never realised it could be this bad. Not just the gastrointestinal symptoms, but the flu-like aches and pains, total exhaustion, nausea, and lack of appetite too. A very unpleasant experience.)
So I figured I needed to start taking an oral rehydration solution to get my fluids and electrolytes back where they’re supposed to be. I vaguely remembered someone telling me that the lemonade-flavoured Hydralyte was pretty good, so I got a bottle of that. And, yes, it was pretty good — tastes just like lemonade …except a bit salty, but that’s to be expected from these kinds of solutions.
I’d bought the one-litre bottle of it, so I worked my way through that, and then a friend from work told me she prefers the apple & blackcurrant flavour. Always happy to take a recommendation from a friend, I bought a bottle of this to try out. I was cautious, though, since I wasn’t sure I’d like it, so I just got the 250mL bottle. It reminded me of Ribena except no fizz, less sweet and, yes, a bit salty. I’m not overly fond of Ribena (but would always drink it as a kid if that was what I was given), so the lemonade flavour still seemed better.
(Side note: I think it’s kind of strange that the small bottles of Hydralyte are 250mL but the adult dosing recommendation on the label says to have 200mL every 30 minutes. Why not just make a 200mL or 400mL container, or write the dosing in terms of how long it should take to drink 250mL? It’s not very hard maths, but I don’t want to figure this out when I’m dehydrated and tired. And, yes, it’s probably not a big deal if you drink it a bit faster or slower, but being sick made me quite cautious.)
Meanwhile, another friend from work told me that it’s actually the lemon-lime flavour that tastes best, not the lemonade one like I’d thought. The only downside is that this flavour is only available as a dissolving tablet, and not as a ready-to-drink solution. At this point, I still wasn’t feeling great, and just did not have the energy or inclination to measure out the water needed to dissolve it, so I gave it a miss. I mean, I’m sure it’s pretty straight-forward and easy, but all I wanted to do was lie down.
Anyway, as I was finishing the bottle of apple & blackcurrant Hydralyte, yet another friend from work told me I should try the orange flavour instead. I’d had a few people tell me that the orange flavour isn’t very pleasant, so I was a bit hesitant, but I decided to try it anyway. And I’m glad I did because it’s the only one that somehow doesn’t taste salty! It actually tastes like flat Fanta but not as sweet. Indeed, I liked it so much that I bought a litre bottle of it.
Even as I’m typing this post, I’ve been sipping a glass of this orange-flavoured Hydralyte, contemplating if it’s possible to be addicted to it. (I don’t actually think that I am; I just want to finish the bottle.)