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.

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Travel Tip Tuesday

Here’s my biggest problem when I travel. I am not good at other languages. I always try to learn the basics – please, thank you, where’s the bathroom. But in this world you need more than that to get by.

Now  there’s Google Translate. This amazing app translates in to 64 languages. You can type in your words or speak into your phone and it will translate your spoken words. Or push the hand write button and write in your words to be translated. Hit full screen and show someone your translations.  You can also communicate with another person using speech-to-speech translation in Conversation Mode.

You’ve just got to check out this app. Oh, yeah and it’s free.

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.

Eating Well in Airports

You’re in the airport tired, travel weary and hungry. Most of what you see is fast food and the other options just don’t look too good.  You’re wishing you had more choices.  Here are a few suggestions of some inexpensive, portable, and nutritious foods to bring along that will keep the whole family satisfied.

Oatmeal (quick cook rolled oats) is one of the cheapest and healthiest grains you can find. Dried oatmeal could be carried in a wide mouthed nalgene type container or in packets. Eat without cooking or mix with yogurt, hot water, or fruit juice, which are all readily available in most airports.  Add nuts and dried fruits.

Hard boiled eggs.  A high protein convenience food in its own container. Keep them in the shell until ready to eat to minimize germs.

Granola is also great for airports.  Buy already assembled or make it yourself.  Add pecans, cashews, or walnuts, raisins or dried fruit, and don’t forget to add dark chocolate chips. Store in resealable plastic bags.  Everyone can have their own.

Avoid carbonated beverages, excessive caffeine, and alcohol.  Drink plenty of clean water. Carry some of your favorite herb tea bags or hot chocolate packets to add to hot water.  Dry cup of soup packages don’t take up much room, either.

Next time you’re roaming an airport and getting hungry, don’t look for a something with arches, and just look in your own bag.