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How to Pack Medications for Air Travel

Updated April 17, 2017

Airport security measures have tightened since the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has established strict guidelines for passengers with medical conditions. Passengers are allowed to travel with medication, but they must follow proper packing and security procedures. Your health and safety are equally important when travelling by plane.

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Check with your airline's regulations. The TSA has established guidelines for flying with medication. However, you should check with your individual airline for more specific instructions. Some rules or guidelines may vary from one airline to the next.

Use a carry-on bag to pack all medications. Airport security rules state that medications must travel in a carry-on bag. This allows security personnel easy access to it. You will also benefit from having your medication available, instead of packed in checked baggage if your checked bag is lost.

Medicinenet.com states that passengers with diabetes are permitted to bring insulin on-board. Take a copy of your prescription with you so you will be permitted to take treatment for low blood sugar during the flight.

Follow guidelines for medication packaging. Passengers are permitted to bring medication on-board their flight, permitting it is packaged properly. Mediations that require refrigeration should be cooled with nontoxic gel packs.

Do not take medications out of the original packaging. Do not try to save space by putting pills in one bottle. Without original professionally printed labels, you risk confiscation by security. They have no way to identify your medication without proper labelling. This includes over-the-counter medication.

Prepare medication for security screening. The Transportation Security Administration states that medications are scanned through X-ray. However, you have the option of asking a security official to visually inspect your medication supplies.

To have personnel inspect your medication visually, keep it separate from your other items. Medication is typically carried in a small-insulated lunch bag or pouch. To protect your medication from damage during inspection, TSA advises that you handle, display and repack it.

Stay on your medication schedule. Everydayhealth.com suggests packing enough medication to maintain your doctor's daily instructions. However, be careful not to overdose when flying to different time zones. Do not take extra medication to accommodate flying time. Ask your doctor about increasing or decreasing medication dosage when travelling.

Tip

Arrive at the airport with ample time for security to inspect your medication.

Warning

Refusing to follow airport security rules may cause your items to be confiscated.

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About the Author

Althea Thompson began writing professionally in 2002, and her work has appeared on CBN News and in the award-winning "Focus Magazine." She holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Regent University and a Bachelor of Arts in communication and writing from Houghton College.

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