As we hit the height of summer in North America, more and more people are traveling. Airports are feeling the strain with increased reports of crowds, waits and general confusion.
That’s why our No. 1 travel tip for patients is this, from Deirdre Smith, CSL Behring’s Associate Director for Medical Information:
Keep your prescription medicine with you in a carry-on bag. Do not pack it in your checked bags.
This is nothing new but especially important if you encounter flight delays and lost luggage, Smith said.
Always check the prescribing information to see what the recommended storage temperature is, she said. Storage temps vary but be especially attentive with infusion therapies. These “biologics” are generally delivered intravenously or subcutaneously and contain proteins that make the medicine effective. If the medicines get too hot or too cold for too long, they might not work as well as they should.
Once you hand off checked bags, too many things could go wrong.
“If your luggage gets lost, you have no idea what kind of temps that bag has been exposed to and a replacement won’t be made available by the company or covered by insurance,” said Smith.
She recommends patients follow U.S. Transportation Security Administration guidance on traveling with medicines. More information is available at the TSA website.
Some of the same issues can arise when traveling by car, train or even cruise ship. Keep the medicine close by and at the right temperature so it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
Lynne Doebber, a primary immunodeficiency patient and patient advocate, uses cooler bags like the kind you would pack a lunch in when she’s going on a road trip. Who knows how hot your parked car will get? One study found that cars heat up quickly in the sun – getting 20 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature in just 10 minutes.