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Hi Friends!

The NLM staff wanted to pass on three tips for those who may be taking trips out of the U.S. in the coming months and year. We have done a lot of traveling for years and learned a lot.

Tip # 1

Renew Your Passport

Renew your passport approximately nine months before it expires. Check the expiration date because certain countries require passports to remain valid for up to 6 months after travel. Also, some airlines do not allow you to board if you don't meet this requirement.

Tip # 2:

How to travel with Prescription Drugs

a. Carry all of your prescription drugs in their original containers, even if you normally use a weekly or monthly pill dispenser box. If you are asked to prove that you are the patient entitled to each prescription, the original container will serve as that proof. Bring your empty pill dispenser with you and set it up when you reach your destination.

Carry all prescription travel drugs in their original containers as well. If you are traveling by air, train or bus, keep all of your prescription drugs with you in your carry-on bag

b. Prescription medications to take with you in international travel

Advice from Dr. Sharon Orrange

Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

All of these recommendations are not for everyone. Your doctor will help you decide which ones are right for you.. (Ilene)

"First, a few general tips. Of course, bring your routine prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, Tylenol, Benadryl, and maybe Imodium. Then, check the CDC Travelers’ Health website to ensure you don’t need any immunizations.

Next, here are ten prescription medications commonly used by fellow travelers…

1. Ambien (zolpidem). Assists those traveling more than 5 hours to wake up rested; great for those going to a meeting or presentation; helps one acclimate to a new time zone.

2. Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim). Bactrim, the jack of all trades, is a good antibiotic to travel with (unless you have a sulfa allergy). Acceptable uses for Bactrim are staph aureus, skin and soft-tissue infections, and urinary tract infections. If on vacation your cut or scratch starts to look infected, red, hot or tender you can rely on your Bactrim prescription. Bactrim is also a good choice for urinary tract infections.

3. Cipro (ciprofloxacin). Cipro is an antibiotic that may help out for the traveler who picks up “traveler’s diarrhea.” Cipro taken twice a day for 1-3 days is indicated for the treatment of traveler’s diarrhea. Additionally, Cipro may help for treatment of urinary tract infections (UTI).

4. Diflucan (fluconazole). A single 150 mg tablet of Diflucan is a good first line treatment for vaginal candidiasis aka “vaginal yeast infection”. Yeast infections may occur more frequently on vacations because of wet bathing suits, increased sexual activity or a change in diet, and a single dose pill is an easy treatment.

5. Zofran (ondansetron). Ondansetron orally dissolvable tablets work well for nausea. If you have horrible luck and pick up a foodborne illness in another country this will help get you through the 24-48 hours of nausea and vomiting.

6. Bring a steroid cream more potent than over-the-counter hydrocortisone 1%. A good medium potency steroid like triamcinolone 0.1% or 0.5% requires a prescription and may be a good choice to travel with for itchy, red rashes or bug bites.

7. Transderm Scup (scopolamine) seasick patches. The traveler heading out on a cruise or boat trip will be smart to get a prescription from their doc to bring these along… a very smart idea!

8. Muscle relaxants. Robaxin (methocarbamol) or Skelaxin (metaxalone) muscle relaxants help the traveler who is struggling with neck or back pain after a long plane ride or sleeping on a different bed/pillows

9. Xanax (alprazolam) or Ativan (lorazepam). For acute anxiety symptoms, most commonly fear of flying, a very low dose short-acting benzodiazepine will help. This is not a long-term fix …but alprazolam or lorazepam can help get you on that plane for now.

10. Bactroban (mupirocin). The traveler who would use Bactroban antibiotic ointment has a skin or soft tissue infection from Staph or Strep that’s only mildly red or sore. As mentioned above, the oral antibiotic Bactrim would be used for more serious skin infections. Why would this happen on vacation? For my patients it’s because vacation means more flip-flops, walking the beaches barefoot, stepping on coral, etc. with limited access to properly clean wounds."

Tip # 3

Keeping hydrated is key…

Drink WATER as you travel to your destination and back. Keeping hydrated is key for overcoming ‘jet lag’ and beating the dryness and bloating that often accompanies travel. We recommend replacing complimentary dehydrating drinks like coffee, soda, and black tea with mineral-rich spring waters while on the plane. Amazing how much better one feels upon arrival.

Also, We recommend if you are traveling to warmer, sunnier climate that you include in your preparation flavored rehydration electrolyte powder sticks (such as Liquid IV, Propel or Sqwincher Qwik Stik). These are found on Pour one stick into a 16 oz. size water bottle. These are great to prevent as well as treat dehydration. One should drink three 16 oz bottles of water daily when traveling. Other drinks are extra. As said above, coffee, soda and black tea are dehydrating drinks.

Purified bottled water should be your only choice of drinking water while traveling abroad.

“I don’t drink water.”

We personally know two who told us that on arrival in Mexico. Both became very ill and severely dehydrated and needed IV rehydration. Adding electrolyte powder to water can make it more palatable to those who don’t care for pure water.

Happy Traveling!!

NLM Staff


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