Health Watch -- The Vacation Pharmacy

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

You can't take a vacation from your medication, so make sure your medicines travel safely.

When you travel, it's essential to take along any prescription medicine, as well as any other medications you might need along the way and vitamins to help make up for a less-than-ideal vacation diet. But doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say if you're vacationing with children, you need to be careful about how you carry drugs or vitamins.

Travel containers may be easier to deal with than the regular child-proof bottles, but they usually aren't tamper-resistant. A curious child digging in luggage may be able to get into them. All medications and vitamins should be carried in child-proof containers and kept where children can't get to them. If grandparents are traveling with you, they may not be used to keeping medicine away from children, so they may need to be reminded.

Even pills that are safe for children in recommended doses can be dangerous if they're eaten like candy. Dr. Daniel Keyes, a UT Southwestern doctor who is director of the North Texas Poison Center, says even chewable children's multivitamins can cause an iron overdose if children take too many.

It's best to not take medicine when children are watching, and to avoid giving medicine to children when other children are around. When you travel, make sure you have the national Poison Center hotline number with you: 1-800-222-1222.


June 2004