Taking medicine overseas
If you are about to embark upon a trip, the excitement of a holiday or adventure can easily overshadow daily responsibilities such as taking medication. It is important that you are prepared for taking medicine overseas as it may not be possible to get hold of the items you need if the worst does occur.
The following simple tips may help your planning.
Take enough with you
When taking medicine overseas, calculate exactly how much you believe you will need and take extra just in case. It's better to have too much than too little. If you're going away on a long trip, speak to your GP to get a double prescription to last you the course. Also ask your doctor for a letter that states you need to take your medication and keep it handy in case you need to get further supplies during your trip: a doctor's letter is a requirement in many countries. Keep a list of the full medical names of the medication you take, not simply brand names. A translation can be invaluable, or at the very least ensure you have the packaging at least in case you can't find your usual brand.
Travelling by air
Airlines may demand that passengers have a travelling companion if they aren't self-sufficient (for example able to self-administer medicine). Under no circumstances should you claim to be self-sufficient if you are not. This could cause serious problems in an emergency. Also keep a store of your medication in your hand luggage, just in case. Let the cabin crew know if you have a condition which may potentially strike during the flight, or if you may need medication administering. You may be seated accordingly.
For medication other than the most common forms of prescription items, it is advisable to check with a country's embassy that they will allow your medication into the country. Although an outside risk, it pays well to be prepared.
You should also take general precautions to safeguard your health while abroad. It can be tempting to forget routine and throw caution to the wind when on holiday, but it's important that you don't forget the routine of medications and thus risk compromising your health. There may also be steps you can take to generally boost your health and immune system before your trip, for example by taking probiotic drinks and increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables beforehand to keep your body in tip-top condition.
Dr Travel Tips
- When camping, reduce the chance of insect bites by wearing light coloured clothing and avoiding perfumes.
- This is on 'oldy but a goody': always pack a spare pair of clothes in you hand luggage just in ‘case’ the airline loses your other baggage.
- Before you travel you should call your bank and let them know where you are travelling and the dates of your trip to avoid bank card issues.
- Some tips seem obvious but return the best value, this is one. Always retain a cheery disposition wherever you are travelling, you will receive far greater service – a smile is multilingual.
- To save space in your luggage and reduce the weight should you be charged extra, take samples of toiletries rather than packing your large ‘home size’ containers.