In a fit of domestic goddessism, I tidied up our stash of medicines this morning. You have to do this regularly in France since any time you go to the doctors, you come home with four or five sets of pills and potions, most of which you don’t use. I’m grateful for their enthusiasm, and so no doubt are the pharmaceutical companies, but it can be over the top. In Ireland, if the doctor prescribed you a drug for ten days, say, the pharmacist would give you exactly that number of tablets. Here you get the drug in multiples of a hundred. OK, not quite, but you get the tablet in whatever quantity the manufacturers decide to box it in. This usually exceeds the amount you’ve been prescribed, and so the medicine stock starts to build up. As just one example, we had amassed four boxes of the exquisitely named exomuc, an expectorant as you might have guessed. So there was plenty of sorting out to do.
And I happened across this. It’s a packet of potassium iodate tablets that the Irish government issued to every household in 2000 (I think) as a way of getting at the UK government. The excuse for issuing them was so the Irish population would be protected in case of Sellafield having a meltdown or otherwise misbehaving. It was rather a token gesture. The six tablets provided would be enough for one dose for two adults and two kids. Irish families are generally larger than this so some members would have had to have been sacrificed. The tablets work by preventing your thyroid from absorbing harmful radiation from the atmosphere, at least for a while.
It was essentially an empty, political gesture, although I think a lot of people were touched by the Taoiseach’s thoughtfulness at the time. I shudder to think what it must have cost. Anti-radiation tablets don’t come cheap as I’ve discovered after a quick trawl on the Net. Anyway, time to dispose of them since they expired in 2005! Also, we’re a long way from Sellafield now.
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