Travel tips for people with chronic diseases

If you’re planning to travel and have to take medication on a regular basis, here are some tips for you!

Bring enough medication for the complete duration of your trip, plus about an extra three days’ worth, in case your return trip is delayed. Also, this means you won’t have to rush to the pharmacy when you get back.

Keep all your medication in its original packaging or in the containers supplied by the pharmacy. The personalized label is proof that the medication was prescribed for you and can also be useful if you need to consult a doctor or pharmacist during your trip.

Ask your pharmacist for a complete list of your medication, and keep the printout in a separate bag from the one you’ll be using to carry your medication. That way, if you lose your medication, you can use this list to get replacements. Make sure the list shows the generic name of the medication, since brand names can vary from one country to another.

If you use injection medication, ask your physician to provide you with a letter stating which supplies you need for your injections (syringe and needles). Carry this letter with you so that you can show it to customs officials if requested.

If you are taking the plane, bring your medication in your carry-on luggage so that you can be sure it reaches its destination with you.

When travelling by car, be careful with extreme temperatures. Medication mustn’t freeze or be exposed to temperatures above 25°C, so it’s best not to leave it in the car. To be on the safe side, you can store your medication in an isothermal container (like a lunch bag, but without an ice pack) to protect it from temperature variations. If one of your medicines must be kept refrigerated, keep it in a separate isothermal container, with an ice pack.

If there is a significant time zone difference between your home and your destination, you may need to adjust at what time you take your medication. When getting ready for your trip, speak to your pharmacist or healthcare team - they can help you adapt your medication intake schedule.

Depending on your destination, you may need vaccinations or preventive medication (e.g. against malaria). Don’t leave this to the last minute, because vaccines usually have to be administered several weeks before departure and some require more than one dose.

Lastly, your pharmacist may prescribe certain medicines commonly used by travellers (e.g. to treat traveler’s diarrhea or malaria). Don’t hesitate to consult your pharmacist for more information on this service!

https://travel.gc.ca/

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