Traveling with Medications

I hate taking medicine but I enjoy living. In 2018, I had a heart attack resulting in one stent. Since then, I have been on several prescribed medications. Up to that point medications barely hit my radar when traveling, but now I have a new normal. Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling with medications.

Disclaimer: I am not a pharmacist, physician, or health care worker. Any topics or suggestions of medical importance needs to be discussed with your health care provider.

Proof of Prescriptions: You need to have proof of your prescriptions. The easiest way to provide proof is with the bottles your pharmacy supplied which has all of the necessary information. If you put your medications in a “daily dispenser” or another container, it is important to have the prescription documentation with you. Your pharmacist can supply you with this documentation. Over the counter medicine should be in the original containers.

Carry Extras: When the coronavirus hit, we heard of travelers being quarantined on cruise ships, in foreign countries, etc. You may have a seven day trip planned but there are many reasons why your return trip could be delayed. Just to be safe, carry at least an extra week’s worth of your medications. I prefer two weeks extra.

Save Space: Some of the medicine bottles are huge. Ask your pharmacist to give you a smaller bottle with the necessary info on it for travel purposes. Also, if you have liquid medicine ask about a smaller container for your travels. If you have a liquid prescription over the 3.4 ounce minimum, you should not have a problem with it in security since it is a prescription. It would be best to place it in the plastic inspection tray when you go through security.

Luggage: Do not put your needed medications in your check-in bag because there is always the possibility of it getting lost. Put your medications in your carry-on bag or better yet in your personal item bag.

Over the Counter Suggestions: Medications such ibuprofen, acetaminophen, diarrhea medicine, allergy medication, anti-acid tablets, and triple antibiotic cream are a few things to consider packing. Sure, they can be purchased most places but I like to pack the ones I frequently need.

Never Leave Home Without It: Aspirin 81 mg (preferably chewable) could be a life-saver. When I had my heart attack, the ER physician gave me four-81 mg aspirin tablets to chew up and place under my tongue.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): While we are on the subject of aspirin, we need to discuss DVT. This is a condition of a blood clot usually in the leg. A blood clot can detach and travel to the heart and clog the arteries supplying the lungs resulting in a pulmonary embolism which can result in death. The risk of a DVT is increased with decreased circulation which can take place on a long flight.

There are several things you can do to prevent this from happening such as standing, walking, stretching, and drink plenty of water. Another recommendation for some is to take an aspirin days before your flight and during your flight.

Please check with your physician or other health care provider before taking any suggested medications.

Stay safe and healthly.

Enjoy the Journey,

Harry L. Whitt