Tips for Traveling with Medications

June 30, 2009 - Posted by Megan

During these warmer months, many families are gearing up for an annual summer trip.  I know when I travel, I have a ton of things that I need to remember.  Did I bring enough clothes? Cash or credit card? Should I bring my running shoes?

But do you think about your medications when making your travel plans?  If you aren’t, you probably should be. Whether it’s packing your prescriptions or preparing an over-the-counter medical kit, you should be prepared for a variety of scenarios that could occur during your travels.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when packing your medications.

Bring extra of your prescriptions. Sometimes you can get hung up several extra days at an airport, or stuck somewhere due to weather. By having extra supply on hand, you can be sure you’ll have enough medication in these scenarios.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor. This is particularly important if you plan on leaving the country. Have them write out an additional prescription, in the case that you lose your medication while traveling.

Talk to your pharmacist. When I travel, I love to try the different foods of where I’m visiting. However, if you’re taking prescription medication, discuss potential drug-food interactions that you may need to be aware of with your pharmacist before you leave.

Have a note. If you take any prescription drugs by syringe (such as insulin), get a note from your doctor, authorizing the use of the medication. If you are visiting another country, this can speed up the process if the medications are included as a part of your carry-on.

It can be difficult to decide what over-the-counter medications to take. While it’s not realistic to take your entire medicine cabinet with you, here are some health kit suggestions.

Anti-diarrhea medication: Food-borne illness can affect up to 30% of travelers. Keep a bottle of Imodium or Pepto-Bismol on hand to fend off any food-stomach disagreements.

Antihistamine: Pollen counts and activity vary greatly around the country. Take along some non-drowsy antihistamines to keep runny noses and allergies from ruining your trip.

Anti-motion sickness medication: For an unexpectedly bumpy plane ride or particularly rocking boat ride, keep some Dramamine in your kit. It can keep your trip from being a stomach-turning experience.

Antibacterial ointments or creams: Sometimes scrapes and cuts happen while traveling. (Don’t run into the coral while snorkeling – I’ve seen people learn that out the hard way!) By having an antibacterial cream on hand, like Neosporin, you can help prevent that little cut or scrape from getting infected.

Of course, the key to a great vacation is to have fun!  By making sure you’re prepared before you leave, you can save yourself a lot of trouble once you’ve reached your location.  Happy travels!

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