The holiday season means traveling for many of us. Some skip the cold of winter for somewhere warm and sunny. Others leave the warm sun for somewhere colder, and maybe even snowy. No matter your destination, if you take medicine, it is important that you travel with it safely. The Maryland Poison Center (MPC) offers the following tips for traveling with medicine.
Always pack medicine in its original, labeled packages. Never pack loose pills in a plastic baggie. Keeping loose pills in different containers is dangerous for many reasons, including:
- You can mistake it for a different medicine
- Pets and children can easily get into it
- Children associate baggies with treats and candy
- You won’t know the active ingredients or strength
- You won’t have the dosing directions
Leave medicine in its original, labeled container to avoid all confusion. If you are prescribed an EpiPen or other medicine for severe allergies, make sure you pack it. Pack all medicines in a place that can be easily reached at all times.
Flying with Medicine
Pack medicine in your carry-on bag, not your checked bag. This ensures the medicine is available if:
- you need it during your trip
- your flight is delayed
- your luggage is lost
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), liquid, gel, and aerosol medicines over 3.4 ounces are allowed in a carry-on. But, you must alert a TSA agent before your bag goes through the screening process. Medicines should be easy to reach and ready for screening at the TSA checkpoint. Travel with medicine in the original, labeled container to avoid questions and delays.
If you are traveling to another country, check with the country you’re visiting for specific rules regarding medicines.
For more information about TSA policies, visit www.tsa.gov or contact TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227.
Arriving at Your Destination
Medicine storage is just as important when you are traveling as when you are at home. Never leave medicine in a suitcase or on a counter where children, pets, or other house guests can get into it. Ask your host for a safe place to store your medicine. If this is not possible, find a cabinet or drawer that is up, away, and out of sight.
If you are hosting visitors, make sure to offer them a safe place to store their medicine during their stay. Keep all medicines in their original, labeled containers.
Call the poison center right away if you suspect a medicine mistake or overdose. There are 55 poison centers serving the U.S. and its territories. All poison centers can be reached by calling 1-800-222-1222. If traveling outside the country with U.S. cell phone coverage, the phone number will still work. No matter where you are, sunshine or snow, expert pharmacists and nurses are available to take your call. We wish you safe and happy holidays!