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How to Travel Abroad With Medicine

It is essential to staying healthy while traveling. Humanitarian aid workers should always consider their health before deployment. After all, if you get sick, you cannot help others! For those who take prescription or regular medication, it’s essential to know how to travel abroad with medicine.

Know what’s legal and where

Not all medicines are legal everywhere. Also, some countries have different rules about over-the-counter medicines versus prescription medicines. If you take regular medication, whether prescription or not, you should check whether it’s legal and readily available at your destination.

For this, you can contact your local embassy of the country you will visit. Or, you can ask colleagues at the destination to find out.

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Reassess your medication

If certain medications are illegal at your destination, then you may reassess your current schedule. Talk to your doctor to see if there are alternative options. If your health depends on these and there is no substitute, you may need to reconsider your travel plans.

If you are traveling for a long time, check if your medications are available at your destination. If not, can you switch them for something else? This way you don’t need to worry about running out of prescription medication.

Check if you need vaccines

It is vital to maintain your immunizations to promote your own and global health. Check whether there are any vaccines that you need for your travel. Your healthcare provider should be able to help you with this information. Alternatively, a travel health clinic will have the information.

Make sure that you inform your doctor of any prescription medications you are currently taking. This is to make sure that there is no adverse interaction between these and the vaccines.

Get your prescriptions filled

Before you embark on your travels, make sure that to fill your prescriptions. You can work out the schedule and how much medicine you will need. Inform your doctor about the duration of your stay. If there are limits on the amount of medicine that the pharmacy can dispense at a time, check if you can have a specific prescription.

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Pack smart to travel abroad with medicine

Always pack your medicines in carry-on luggage. In case your checked-in baggage gets lost, you won’t be stuck without the required medication. Also, you won’t be risking having the medication confiscated without your knowledge.

If your medicine has a specific temperature or packing requirements, make sure to follow these. You case use ice packs or specialized containers to do so.

Carry your prescription

It’s possible that the border officers will ask you for your prescription. You should always carry the original with you when crossing international borders. It might also come in handy if your medicines do get lost. You may be able to fill the prescription at your destination.

Make sure you have the original packaging

It is best to keep all medicines in their original packaging. That way there won’t be any questions regarding their origin. If you are unable to do so, make sure that you put proper labels on each medicine and carry them separately.

Be in the know

If border patrol has some questions about your medicine, it’s a good idea to have the right answers. For example, what is the composition of the medication? What is it for? How long have you been using it? Why is it essential for your health?

Once again, this can also help if your medication gets confiscated or lost. You will be able to guide a pharmacy to give you an equivalent if you know exactly what you need.

Bring extra meds

Sometimes humanitarian missions get delayed. It’s best to bring extra medicine, covering more time than your actual planned travel. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a foreign country with no prescription meds. Plus, it will help you to avoid unnecessary doctor visits and let you focus on your work.

Have a back-up plan

When traveling, things may not go according to plan. So, inform your doctor and your family where and when you will be visiting. If you lose your medication, they may be able to mail it to you or send it with a colleague or a friend.

Also, you should find out what medications are available in your destination country. Maybe these can work as a substitute for what you are currently taking.

Purchasing medication abroad

When buying medicine abroad or having vaccines, make sure that both you and the doctor have a clear understanding of the situation. Issues like language barrier can lead to severe problems with wrong meds. If you are not sure, hire a translator or find a doctor who speaks your language.

You should also always go to a reputable hospital or clinic. Besides, you need to have travel health insurance, to stay safe and healthy while traveling.

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