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It’s Family Vacation Season – Don’t Forget Your Prescription Meds!

News May 7, 2019 | CanadaOnlineHealth

It’s that time of year, when families across America are planning to get away and have some fun. Whether you are taking a road trip with your loved ones or you’re packing up and getting on a plane to some other fun destination, it’s important to make sure you have your family’s health at the top of your planning list.

Make a plan for your prescription medications

First and foremost, remember your prescription and over-the-counter medications.

  • Talk to your pharmacist and doctor about your medication needs.
  • Take your prescription medication with you in its original container.
  • Do not combine medications into one container or pill box.
  • Take a little extra medication along in case of flight delays or other unexpected events that may prolong your stay.
  • Carry a copy of your original prescription and ensure that both the generic and trade names of the medications are included in case of loss or theft.
  • Carry a doctor’s note describing why you are taking the medication.

Set a reminder for when to take your prescription medication

Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to take your medication. It’s easy to lose track of time while traveling and having fun, but you always want to make sure you are taking your medication on time every day.

Carry water or food with you for your prescription medication

Some medications need to be taken with food and/or water.  Be sure to take along the right foods and/or liquids to take with your medication.  Speak to your pharmacist about what would be the right amount of food to take with your prescription medication.

What to pack your medication in

While it may be tempting to toss your prescription medication into a zip lock bag or stuff them into a sock (yes, this is something people do!) – don’t do it!  You want to make sure your medication is both protected and accessible.

Purchase a small firm-sided case to put your prescription medication in.  This will help prevent your medications from being crushed or jostled around inside your luggage.   If your medication case is too large, you may want to pack cotton or yes, even a clean sock, around your medication to help secure it so it does not rattle around in the case.

If you need to take your medication with you in your carry-on bag, having your medication in its own dedicated small case or compartment will protect your medication and keep it handy for when you need it, and also keep it handy should you be asked to present it to security.

Have a plan in case you miss a dose of your medication

Before you leave on vacation ask your pharmacist what you should do if you miss a dose of your medication.   Never assume you can just take another pill or double up on your next dose. 

Plan to keep your medication refrigerated on the plane and in your room.

Some medications need refrigeration, such as insulin or hormone injections used during IVF, and some liquid antibiotics and injectable biologic medications.   If you’re traveling with medication that needs to be kept cool, consider buying gel packs which you can pre-freeze and insert into your small medication carrying case.  TIP:  Time test your gel-pack and case; put your frozen gel pack into your medication container along and time how long your pack stays cool.   If your medication will not stay cool for the duration of a long flight, let your flight attendant know. They will often let you put your medication in the refrigerator or give you some ice (so bring along some zip-lock baggies).

Keep in mind that you really do need to bring your refrigerated medications on to the plane  with you. It’s a good idea to keep it in a separate bag from your other carry on, and be prepared for extra screening at security.  If they are kept in the checked-in baggage compartment under the plane they may freeze.

When making your hotel reservation be sure to double check that you have a working refrigerator in your room.  If your medication must be kept at a precise temperature it wouldn’t hurt to take a thermometer to make sure the refrigerator is actually cold enough for your medication – and if it isn’t, call down to the front desk and let them know.

Want even more travel tips? Read our “Health Travel Tips to Keep You Well” article, and have a safe and healthy vacation!

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