5 Tips for Taking Your Meds When You Travel

Traveling with prescription medications can pose some unexpected problems that can create havoc on a trip. To avoid problems, plan ahead.

  1. Bring your prescriptions in their original containers that are properly and clearly labeled. Don’t bring pill minders, mix different pills in one bottle or put them in resealed plastic bags.
  2. Take enough for your trip plus a week or two extra in case of delays so you won’t run out.
  3. Carry all prescriptions with you on the plane. Do not put them in checked bags.  They might not make it to your destination.
  4. Forget your vitamins or other non-essential items.
  5. Find out if it’s legal to bring your prescription into the country you are traveling to. Drugs like Adderall are illegal in many countries even if legally prescribed in the U.S. Over the counter preparations with Sudafed are illegal in Japan.

If you lose a prescription or run out of medication abroad, pharmacies are unlikely to accept prescriptions called or faxed by your U.S. provider.

Travel Tip Tuesday – Lost on Vacation

Traveling can be disorienting- new environment, different language, changing hotels frequently, along with fatigue and jet lag. If you are traveling with a group, you may not be paying as close attention to where you are or where you are staying.  You need to know how to reconnect if you get separated from your group.

Got a cell phone? Take a picture of your hotel.  You can show this to someone to help you find your way back, even if you don’t speak the language. If they have a business card or match book, take one and keep it with you.

Make a plan.  Decide where you will meet, if you get separated each day. Know where your group is headed next.   Wear a watch to keep track of the time. Ask your tour guide the best way to contact them if you get separated from the gang. Your bus may not pick you up where you got dropped off.

Travel Tip Tuesday

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. Sign up for Travel Alerts.

Dirty Needles?

Traveling in under developed countries poses some unique challenges. What if I get cut and need stitches? What if I have a dental emergency? Get diarrhea so bad I need IV rehydration? Will they have properly sterilized equipment?

You can purchase syringe and suture kits to take with you. These are not do it yourself kits. They are to be given to a trained health care provider to use on you in such emergencies.

Typically, these kits contain needles, suture materials, IV catheters, gloves and antiviral and antibacterial wipes to close wounds and start IV’s. They can be used to administer anesthetics for emergency dental procedures, too.

To help with going through customs,  get a note from your travel clinic provider that states that these items are being used for personal use only. One kit from Adventure Medical Kits has declaratory statements about use printed on the outside in 8 different languages.

Many travel clinics, including Travel Health of New Hampshire, have these kits available for purchase. Hopefully you will never need to use such a kit,  but in countries where blood borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis are common, it is reassuring to know that if you the equipment used on you is definitely sterile.