March Blog – Travel Health
March – Travel Health
Medication on Vacation
First of all, to make sure you stay healthy when you take a trip, don’t leave your medications at home!
Keep these tips in mind for managing your medications on the road:
Before your trip, review your dosage schedules with your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you’ll be crossing time zones – you may have to take your medications at different times. For example, if you have diabetes and need to use insulin while travelling eastward across 5 or more time zones, you may require less intermediate or long-acting insulin.
If you are travelling to another country, visit www.travelhealth.gc.ca to see if you need special protection against disease in the country you are visiting.
Some medications can make you more sensitive to the sun and heat – check labels for warnings, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. You may need to cover up or use stronger sunscreen.
Store medications away from direct sunlight or high heat. A beach bag or your car’s trunk or glove compartment aren’t good places to keep medications. For example, insulin can be kept up to 30 days at room temperature, but degrades at higher temperatures.
Don’t put your medications in checked luggage. Keep them with you and bring enough to last the whole trip; when you go on an outing, carry along a day’s supply.
You should pack essential medication in 2 different pieces of hand luggage, just in case one becomes lost or stolen. This way you will have back-up and not be left without your important medication while abroad.
Keep with you a list of all the medications you take (include the names, dosages, directions), your doctors’ phone numbers, and your health insurance information.
To avoid problems with customs, carry a note from your health care provider describing the types of medications you are using, a copy of your prescriptions, and clear labels on all your medications that identify your full name (as on your passport), pharmacy name, and the name and dose of the medication. The same applies should you have to carry needles or pre-loaded syringes.
Put together a travel first aid kit containing over-the-counter and prescription medications you may need if you become ill or are injured. Some medications you may want to include are:
- antihistamines in case you have a mild allergic reaction
- a painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- medications for motion sickness and nausea
- medications for diarrhea
- anti-infective ear drops for swimmer’s ear (bacterial infection in the ear)
- an antibacterial cream for cuts, insect bites, and burns
- a course of antibiotics that is prescribed by your doctor
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which specific medications may best suit your needs, depending on your medical history and travel destination.
- Alcohol wipes
- Antibacterial ointment or cream
- Anti-diarrhea medications
- Bandages and gauze
- Hand sanitizer
- Insect repellent
- Motion/travel sickness (anti-nausea) medications
- Pain relievers
- Regular medications
Ask Your Pharmacist
Question: My family is planning a trip outside of Canada this year; do any of us need immunizations before we go?
Answer:That depends where you’re going, where you’re staying and for how long. Immunizations are one of the most effective ways to prevent travel-related infections. Canadians should have already been vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio as part of their routine immunization schedule. Your pharmacist can tell you if you’ll need a booster shot for any of these and can help you with immunization recommendations for a variety of destinations. It’s good to plan ahead though as some vaccinations must be given at least 4 to 6 weeks before travel to be effective.
Do you have more questions? Ask your Live Well Pharmacist.
Don’t let illness spoil your vacation. Stay healthy on vacation in warm climates by protecting yourself from the sun, using insect repellent, being careful about what you eat and drink and bringing a travel first aid kit and extra medication with you. Getting enough sleep and regular physical activity on vacation can help improve your overall health and strengthen your immune system too, making you less vulnerable to illness.
All material © 1996-2013 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.