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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Medication safety during the holiday travel season

When you are scrambling to get on the road or rushing to prepare your home to host family and friends for the holidays, managing your medications is an easy detail to overlook.

However, this is the season to be extra watchful as the chances of an accidental poisoning do increase.

“Whether you’re traveling to someone’s house or expecting guests in your home to celebrate the holidays, it can disrupt your routine. Plan ahead and adjust your routine to reduce the risk of possible accidents with your prescription medications and vitamins,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

Medications should always be used correctly and only taken by the person for which they are prescribed. Putting a few important safety measures in place will help ensure those medicines are used correctly and by the person for which they were intended.

Do not share prescriptions with other family members, friends or pets.

“Staying with friends and family? Curious children might try to search bags and suitcases, so it’s important to take medicine out of purses and bags to reduce risk of exposure,” Peek said.

Once taken, medications should be closed tightly and immediately stored out of reach and sight of children.

Keep in mind heat, moisture, air and light can interfere with the effectiveness of some medications, so they should be kept in a cool, dry place. A cabinet with a latch or lockable storage will work.

Travelers should pack enough doses of medication to cover the duration of the trip, plus a little extra in case they are delayed in returning home.

As an additional precaution, consider taking a copy of the prescription and the contact numbers for the doctor and pharmacist in case of questions or there is a need to refill the medications.

“Check with your doctor or a pharmacist if you have questions about your medication schedule when you’re traveling,” Peek said. “If you’re traveling by plane, pack all your medicine in your carry-on luggage rather than your checked baggage.”

Finally, in the event of a suspected accidental poisoning or medication mistake, contact poison control immediately at 800/222-1222, 24 hours/seven days a week.


Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
158 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078