1. Pack your pills first.
(Use resealable plastic bags; relabeled film cans; or a pocket-sized plastic tackle box.) Your pills are not replaceable if you forget them, so pack them first on your list of things to pack. It is also a good idea to take a two-day backup supply of your meds just in case your travel schedule changes unexpectedly.
2. Pack your pills in a carry-on bag.
Do not pack your pills in a bag that you check in since your pills will not be readily accessible due to a flight delay or they may not be waiting for you at your destination!
3. Never travel without your own supply of food and water.
- Food: You should always travel with a supply of appropriate snacks in case you need to eat before you take your pills or in case you get hungry. You can also call ahead and ask the airline to provide you with a special meal.
- Water: Dehydration can occur during long flights, which is especially to be avoided for people with HIV and those on Crixivan (indinavir). Always bring a supply of bottled water, iced tea, or fruit juice onto the plane with you and drink throughout the flight, not simply when you feel thirsty.
4. Adjust your dosing schedule according to the number of time zones you cross.
As you travel from west to east (such as from L.A. to New York), take each successive dose of your meds one hour earlier than you usually do. When you travel from east to west, you reverse this process by adding an hour between dosing cycles. (Taking your doses an hour earlier, or an hour later, than usual falls well within the approved range for adherence to your assigned dosing regimen.)
5. Remember that you are not at home.
To avoid missing any of your doses or leaving your medications behind, it helps to travel with fluorescent Post-Its. Stick them on places that you must visit frequently throughout the day (such as your suitcase, hotel room key, dresser top) to remind you to take every dose and to take yours pills with you when you leave.
When you travel outside of the United States . . .
- See your doctor about medical prophylaxis. You may also want to call the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta at (404) 332-4555.
- Drink filtered or boiled water. If you travel to developing nations, you may be at a greater risk of getting Cryptosporidiosis. Foods and drinks, in particular raw fruits and vegetables, tap water or ice made from tap water, unpasteurized milk or dairy products, and items purchased from street vendors may be contaminated with Cryptosporidium.
- Eat well-cooked meat. Order meat medium-well to well-done to assure that it is cooked thoroughly. Do not eat chicken or turkey that is pink near the bone.
- Talk with your health-care provider about other precautions you may want to take when you travel abroad, especially in developing countries.
This article has been reprinted at The Body with the permission of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).