Think ahead when traveling with your medications

Medications, and the best ways to transport them, are most often last on peoples’ packing lists.

by Cynthia J. Fagyas — 

When traveling, keep in mind that it may not be the delayed flight or backup on the interstate that spoils your vacation. It may be failing to carefully consider which supplements and medications you need when traveling, and how to ensure they arrive safely at your destination. Medications, and the best ways to transport them, are most often last on peoples’ packing lists.

Here are some simple tips for traveling safely with medications.

  • Pack medicine in a carry-on bag. Depending on the medication, it can turn into a matter of life or death if critical medications are in lost luggage.
  • Carry an extra week’s supply of your medications, in the event that your travel arrangements change.
  • Keep medication in its original container. This will make it easier for customs officials and airline security. Also, if you have a medical emergency, it is easier to determine which medications you take regularly.
  • If you take narcotic prescriptions or must travel with needles, ask your doctor for a letter explaining the reasons you have those drugs and paraphernalia. Again, this is helpful for customs officials and airport security.
  • Some countries have different regulations about medicines that can be imported. Certain over-the-counter drugs may be considered controlled substances in other countries, e.g. medicines containing codeine. Contact the appropriate embassy to see whether your medication is acceptable in that particular country.
  • If your medicine must be kept cool, take a small insulated container (like a lunch-pack) with you.
  • Keep a record of all the medications you take and the condition each one treats, in the event you need medical attention.
  • Travel with your prescription script, just in case your medicine gets lost or stolen and you need to replace it. Have your doctor include the brand names and generic versions.

 

Cynthia J. Fagyas is with AARP Arizona, in Phoenix. 866-389-5649, 602-262-5165 or www.aarp.org.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 3, June/July 2006.

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