Taking Medication Abroad
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, chances are you will have to take prescribed medication on a regular basis to keep your condition under control. When travelling abroad, there are many rules and regulations regarding what you can and cannot bring with you. Take a look at the tips and advice below around medication and prescriptions overseas.
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- Firstly, gather up all of the medications that you are currently taking so that you do not forget any. If you are undergoing investigation regarding a new medical condition, please be aware that you might be prescribed additional medication prior to travel that you will need to leave room for.
- Make a note of the full name of the medications you are taking, not just the short name.
- Check the restrictions as some countries limit the amount of medication you can take with you. The rules of each country differ, so what might be considered safe and allowed in the UK might not be in another country.
- Check with your airline prior to travel and ask them what their medication procedure is. Usually they will require you to also obtain a Doctor's note, which should contain your name, date of birth, travel dates, the countries you are visiting, what medication and your reasons for taking it.
- All medicines and letters should be carried and stored within your hand luggage, not in your hold luggage.
- If you are carrying essential medication within your hand luggage, most airlines will require you to put them all in a 20x20cm clear plastic bag and seal it shut. If you have a large amount of medication or have containers that mean that bag cannot be sealed, it is worth contacting your airline provider beforehand and enquire as to their individual procedures regarding on-board medication.
- If you have medicines which need to be kept cool, these can be stored in a small cool bag for the duration of your trip. Check with your accommodation in advance if there will be a fridge in your room, if not, can this be arranged?
- Bring the medication with you in its original packaging. This not only helps airline staff, but usually the box will have all your details affixed to the front in the form of a sticker.
- Make a note of important phone numbers, such as your Doctor, pharmacist, and any specialists you are currently seeing that relate to your medical condition.
- Photocopy any prescriptions and bring the copies with you, just in case. If you are travelling to Europe, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) because if you need any medication abroad you will be able to get this for the same price as residents.
- Purchase travel insurance and declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your provider through medical screening. If you face any problems abroad, they will be able to help you and know exactly what you are taking if you have declared it beforehand.