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During the scramble to get on the road or prepare your home for family and friends over the holidays, managing your health is dangerously easy to forget.


“Traveling and guests can disrupt your routine. Plan ahead and adjust that routine to reduce the risk of possible accidents with your prescription medications and vitamins,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer specialist and interim associate dean.


Medications should always be used according to a doctor’s instruction and only taken by the person for whom they are prescribed. Putting a few important safety measures in place will help ensure those medicines are used correctly. Never share prescriptions with other family members, friends or even pets.


“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 that heat, moisture, air and light can interfere with the effectiveness of some medicines, 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 or a dose is accidentally dropped.


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 the nonprofit Poison Control hotline immediately at 800-222-1222.

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