The Prescription for a Happy Holiday

Everything you need to know about medication safety this holiday season

(RxWiki News) Getting ready to leave town for the holidays? Don't forget to consider your health when planning your trip.

The holidays are a busy time of year for most families. But accidents and illnesses don't take a day off. That's why it's important to stay prepared for the unexpected, especially when it comes to your medications.

As the holiday travel season approaches, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is encouraging people to talk to their doctors and pharmacists about how to stay medication-ready this year.

The APhA recommends these strategies to maintain a healthy medication routine throughout the holiday season:

  • Organize a kit that contains all of your prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. If you're flying to your destination, always carry your medications with you in your carry-on bags.
  • Bring more medication than you expect to use, in case of any unexpected delays or extended travel. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what to do in the event that your medication is lost.
  • If you will be traveling by plane, make sure to leave your prescription medications in their original labeled prescription bottles. These should have your doctor’s name, generic and brand name and exact dosage. If your medications or devices are not in their original containers, you will need a copy of your prescription with you or a letter from your doctor.
  • Pack a preventive medicine kit. Basics include medications for diarrhea, nausea, motion sickness, allergies, pain and fever, and antibacterial cream or ointment. Furthermore, ask your doctor or pharmacist to find out if you need a particular medication for your travel. This will depend on your destination.
  • Be aware of driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Some medications can impair your ability to drive by increasing reaction time and lowering your perception and judgment. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of your medication and whether you can adjust your dosing schedule to avoid times you may need to operate a vehicle.
  • Carry an up-to-date personal medication list with you. This is a list of all of your prescription and OTC medications, how you take them and why. If you're unexpectedly admitted to the hospital, this list can help the doctor understand your current treatments.
  • Be ready to adjust your medication regimen if needed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how best to alter your medication schedule, if ever you need to.

Make sure your medications are closed securely and immediately and stored out of the reach of children and pets. Because heat, moisture, air and light can interfere with the effectiveness of some medications, you should store your medications in a cool, dry place.

If you forget to take your medication for any reason, it's best to continue as prescribed and seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. Never double up on your next dose unless you have been advised to do so by your doctor. Some medications are toxic in non-prescribed doses.