By: Steve Bond, BScPhm, RPh, CDE

As Canadians, many of us love the winter. The snow, the cold, the ice. What’s not to love? It’s no wonder many people plan to escape the cold for a warmer, more tropical climate. For the past years, travel has been difficult, if not impossible, but now restrictions are lifting, and people are getting the bug to leave again. There is an old saying, “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”

It’s important that you prepare for your medication needs before leaving. Making sure that you are up to date with all vaccinations is the first step to preventing any infections while you are away. All travel plans should be discussed with your doctor or nurse practitioner, as some countries may require vaccinations against diseases not found here, and some vaccines may need to be given well in advance of travel.

While speaking with your doctor, you want to ensure that you have an adequate supply of medications for your trip. Pack all medications in their original, labelled containers and pack an extra supply in case you are away for longer than expected. Some pharmacies may even be willing to package your medication in helpful blister packs, so you don’t miss any. Another good suggestion is to book a MedsCheck review with your pharmacist. They can provide you with an overview of all your medications with a complete and comprehensive list to take with you. This review can help you understand which medications can make your skin more sun sensitive and help you adjust for changes in the time zone.

Packing a vacation survival kit may help to deal with common annoying conditions in a timely (and often less expensive) manner. Some items to include are over-the-counter medications for common ailments such as pain, nausea, allergic reactions, diarrhea, constipation, an antibiotic ointment, and bandages for minor cuts and scrapes.  All medications should be packed in your carry-on luggage and kept in original containers, ready for inspection by airport security or customs officials. While looking after your health needs may not guarantee a fantastic trip, it can ensure that your health doesn’t ruin your vacation. As always, take care of yourselves and each other. And have a safe trip!