Saturday, April 13, 2024

Simple tips for medication safety whilst travelling

As the world is steadily embracing the endemic, travel is back on the agenda this summer and people all over the world are so ready to take a break from talking of illness and medication. We are really done with talking about health, what medication you are on and what your doctor says. Though this conversation is taboo socially and everyone is ready to embrace life again, we could really be missing something very important. The crux of the matter is that we still need to keep our immunity levels up to enjoy life. 

Be it in crowds or vacationing, we cannot afford to let our guard down totally.

So if you are planning to travel this summer, do not abandon your medication routine, be it prescription drugs or vitamins. 

Take them all. 

You will be surprised with the adverse repercussions you will encounter as a result in not taking your meds.


Why is it common for people, especially older adults to give medication a break when on vacation?


Firstly, it is because of the disruption in one’s regular routine, if you are —Adjusting to different time zones, 

The need to deal with jetlag, 

Disruption in your personal hygiene routine, 

Meal timings

Your sleep routine.

Secondly, for longer vacations, ordering enough medication for the entire vacation, sorting the bulk (most older adults are on at least four prescription drugs) carrying them into different countries may pose a problem with local customs. 

It sometimes feels easier and the temptation strong to ditch the drugs.

Planning ahead becomes all too crucial as safe medications make safe holidays. 

Some simple steps to stay medication safe —

  • Get your chemist to make one pouch of your medication, enough for the trip and another one with one week extra supply incase of loss of medication or trip extensions. 
  • They are usually kind enough to label everything or may even go a step ahead and make weekly/daily pouches. This way you will know that you have not missed a dose.
  • Carry the prescription in hard copy and soft copy with the generic name of the medication, in case there is an emergency and you need to get the medication in another country. You can also add your chemists’ business card to it, in case they need to be contacted.
  • Antibiotics are not easily available without a prescription and an important drug to carry when on vacation. Remember not to take it uselessly for cold like symptoms; they are predominantly to fight bacteria and not viruses. Take antibiotics only and only in an emergency as it increases your risk of drug resistance. One course per person is plenty.
  • If you are taking an antibiotic, take the full course; never stop it in between especially if you are feeling well again. Always accompany it with vitamin B complex, a lining for the gut.

So if you are planning a summer vacation, even though the focus worldwide is still COVID-19 and every other disease has been overshadowed. We have all become used to COVID protection of masking up, washing our hands, physical distancing and enhanced infection prevention and control but we still have to continue to take effective action to reduce other infections or unforeseen medical emergencies. 

This can only hold true with taking your prescription medication and vitamins 365 days of the year, vacation or no vacation.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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