Thursday, November 1, 2007

Prescription Medication and Traveling

Hello Everyone,

It's November 1st and the holidays are rapidly approaching. If you are currently taking prescription medication and you are planning travel to visit friends, relatives or to take a vacation, here are some helpful hints:


Travel with medications in their original prescription bottles that contain your name, medication name and directions for use. Do not place them in a pill box. They will be easier to identify and easier to show that the drugs are actually prescribed for your health. You don't want to have to explain to that customs official that those narcotics in that plastic baggy are actually prescribed for you.

If your medications include narcotics, controlled substances or needles, have your doctor write a short letter of explanation to verify that the items are needed. Get a letter from your Doctor if you have a pacemaker, implanted defibrillator, implanted pain pump, using an ambulatory pump for intravenous medications or an insulin pump.

Take along more of your prescription medication than you think you will need. It would be a shame not to be able to extend your visit just because you are running out of your blood pressure medication.

Going back to a previous topic, make sure to wear your medical alert bracelet to let people know if you have certain medical conditions. Also make sure you have a copy of your medication list in your purse or wallet if needed.

Try to bring along a copy of your prescription that has both the brand name and generic name of your medication. If you are abroad, it may help you find the right medication that you need.


Make sure to put medications in your carry-on bags. Do not place in your checked baggage. That way, if your bags are delayed or lost, you will have your medications with you.

Medications that are liquids, aerosols or gels need to meet the carry-on requirements of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I have included the link for you at the bottom of the page.

If you are diabetic, make sure you have your GLUCOMETER with plenty of testing strips, and lancets to check your blood sugar often. Traveling can be stressful and may cause your blood sugar to increase. Make sure you have snacks as well. If your plane is delayed or you have to sit on the tarmac for an extended period and you don't get a chance to eat, you don't want your blood sugar to go too low. Have some candy, some glucose tablets, some glutose or a box of juice.

If you have a heart condition, be aware that most airports have AUTOMATIC EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AED). Make a mental note where they are located and make sure that your travel companions note their location as well. The AEDs can save your life. We will talk about those in a later post.

A long flight can really cramp your legs. They can also cause a condition called Deep Venous Thrombosis. (DVT) If you are prone to that condition, try to get up, stretch and walk around the cabin if you can. Keep that blood pumping.

Stay well hydrated.

CRUISES - Sea Travel

While on those ships, the food is fantastic. If you are diabetic, again, make sure you have your trusty GLUCOMETER with plenty of testing strips, and lancets to check your blood sugar often. Those yummy desserts can make your blood sugar go crazy. Don't let it get out of control.

If you are taking Coumadin (warfarin), make sure you don't drastically alter your diet. Try to maintain your current consumption of Vitamin K containing foods. If you don't know what those items are, drop me a line and we'll go over them.

If you are prone to sea sickness, talk with your Doctor or Pharmacist to see what remedies are most appropriate for you. Plan ahead. If you need a prescription, waiting to the last minute will add to your stress.


Motor coach travel is cool in that you are in your home away from home. As you pull into your favorite RV Resort, find out what access they have to Emergency Medical Services (EMS), do they have AEDs available in the park, what other first aid facilities are close by. Is there a local pharmacy that will deliver to the park if a prescription is needed.

Carry a first aid kit in the coach.

Here are the links for more information:

While you are traveling there is one very important thing to remember as it is very vital to your health....

HAVE FUN ! ! ! ! !

Talk with you later,

Dr. Paul

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