Tuesdays are Your Turn – How to Carry Meds

When we talked about travel tips, you guys had some excellent ideas, and one of them prompted today’s reader response.

Sarah mentioned sweaters with inside pockets to keep her meds right where she can access them on plane trips, and it got me thinking about how we all carry inhalers and spacers and – for some – portable nebulizers when we travel.

My daughter stands poised on the verge of carrying her own meds, but we haven’t quite reached that age yet. And also? While smart and responsible when it comes to her schoolwork, her grades, her sports and play practices, the kid cannot remember her stuff. AG leaves folders at school, jackets on the bus, and sweaters at her friends’ houses pretty much weekly.

That means right now, I’m still the pack mule. Inhalers, spacer, and peak flow meter go in a small, zippered cosmetics pouch that I toss in my amazing messenger bag (Tell you about it later – I love that thing) or, on sleepovers, AG can throw into her backpack.

How do you carry your inhalers, spacers, Epi pens, peak flow meters, and other assorted asthma/allergy paraphernalia?

Pockets? Backpack? Wagon?

I hope you don’t need a wagon.

Related, I’m packing and getting ready for my housesitter right now, since we’re leaving tomorrow for that short summer trip I’ve been planning.

Regular Friday Links are suspended this week as a result, but I’ll be posting photos and travel stories instead.

Where did we decide to go?

I’ll let you know tomorrow when we get there.
Stay tuned for Adventure! and Daring Plans!

75 responses to “Tuesdays are Your Turn – How to Carry Meds”

  1. Sarah says:

    As you already mentioned, I’m fond of sweaters with inside pockets for carrying my rescue meds. Since I don’t get overheated easily, I can wear a sweater comfortably up to about 25-30 degrees Celcius depending on the humidity, which does me for most of the year. During the dog days of summer, I either wear my sweaters around my waist, or pack it in my backpack. My typical arrangement is Left pocket: Spacer and rescue. Right pocket, peak flow meter and two tablets of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (in case of a talcum powder incident at work, something that really raises dust, or some other unexpected allergic reaction – allegra greatly reduces the severity of my reactions, but doesn’t knock them out entirely). In my backpack, I have: Front pounch: extra tablets of diphenhydramine hydrochloride in case I forgot to put the ones in my pocket where they belong (I carry enough spare to take two tablets every four hours for twenty-four hours, that way if I’m staying somewhere that I’m likely to react badly, I can premedicate with Benadryl and keep it up… my allergist has given me the OK for this as my asthma is more dangerous than possible drug interactions), spare peak flow meter (in case I forget), and when I can’t wear my sweater, inhaler and spacer.

  2. kerri says:

    I’m a backpack/bag girl if I’m going anywhere for more than a couple hours. Since I’ve been on (multiple) control meds, I’ve been carrying my asthma stuff in a ziploc bag. I’ve been trying to find a cosmetics bag like you’ve mentioned that fits all my STUFF and looks prettier than a ziploc :-) .

    A Ventolin always lives in my pocket, but EXTRA Ventolin–I think I took four to Orlando–gets stashed in various places–backpack, suitcase, meds bag. (Did I mention I thought I lost a Ventolin when still in my hometown airport? True story. But I didn’t.)

    The spacer, meter, Symbicort, Singulair, benadryl, a bottle of pred just in case, rolaids to accompany the pred, Aerius, Advil, etc all go in the ziploc bag that’s carried on my person ;-) . [On my person. What a funny expression].

    Also, if I’m going anywhere for an extended period of time/by plane/by any route of transportation that could misplace my luggage, I carry full back-ups of meds–one stash in my suitcase, the other in my backpack. [In the ziploc].

    I’ve yet to travel afar with my neb, but for weekend excursions, it gets put in my backpack in the little travel bag Pari so happily provides with the Trek.

    Happy travels, and hopes for ADVENTURES and DARING PLANS! (I love love LOVE the Sidekick.) Have a great trip, I can’t wait to hear about it!

  3. Sara C. says:

    Until the Pari trek, I had an old insulated diaper bag that fit the nebulizer very well. It worked for us. Now, the Pari has a lovely bag that came with it. Medications for travel go into a zip lock bag in the carry-on bag. I don’t have enough extras to pack double, but my carry-on is also my laptop bag…so it is NEVER away from my person.

    For everyday, I have a good sized purse that carries Mariella’s spacer and inhalers, as well as any and all meds I need for me. Thankfully, Abby doesn’t need rescue meds, and doesn’t take anything during the day…just breakfast and bedtime. She’s also big enough to take adult dose advil, which cuts down on what I need to carry.

    I can’t wait until she can carry her own stuff by herself, and I can go back to my cute little handbag that only needs to hold my wallet, phone and my little inhaler.

  4. Sarah says:

    Also: When I travel anywhere, I carry a paper pharmacy bag – with reciepts – containing ipatropium bromide nasal spray, fluticasone propionate nasal spray, Advair, Alvesco, Singulair, yet more diphenhydramine hydrochloride, Allegra, and a current prescription for all my prescribed medications plus my GP’s contact info. Unfortunately, extras of the above are not possible under my current insurance plan and I don’t have enough to absorb the cost of paying for the extras out-of-pocket, so the current prescription and my GP’s contact info, plus really good travel insurance for luggage, theft and health is my insurance against lost or stolen medication (it’s cheaper to buy top-of-the-line travel insurance than to buy spares of my meds). I’ve never had any trouble in airport security for my meds (touch wood) though I have had trouble at the US border once. Apparently they thought I might be trying to smuggle one month’s supply of “cheap” unsubsidized name brand drugs into the US despite having bought them from a pharmacy and having them all labelled for me. But that’s custom’s officials in general for you: when they want to be a pain, they’ll make any excuse.

  5. MC says:

    I have a variety of ways of stowing my meds with me when out of the house (or the college dorm), short trips, or long trips.
    I to love sweaters and can often tolerate wearing a sweater when others can’t. I tend to put my spacer in a sweater pocket, and my inhaler usually goes in my pants pocket (unless I’m wearing a skirt or something without pockets, in which case, it also gets stored in the sweater pocket). If I’m going to be out at places where I don’t mind using my peak flow meter, and/or I know I’m going to be stupid and not want to use my inhaler unless my PF is obviously low, I’ll bring it. Otherwise I don’t. In winter, my jacket has a nice breast pocket inside that’s perfect for storing my spacer and meter.

    When the weather is warmer, my inhaler doesn’t fit well in my capri pockets, so I made a special “sock” for it that clips to my belt loop. I then discovered I could (using the small clip on the inhaler “sock”) attach my spacer with the little strap to keep the cap on. I cover the other end with a piece of cloth to keep dirt and pollen from going in it. Because I hate carrying bags, so I put what I can in pockets and on belt loops.

    However, now I made a special cover for my spacer that covers it and keeps dirt from getting in it, and has a little thing I can attach to my belt loop with a small clip.

    At school, I have a variety of ways of doing it… either I’ll through everything in the front pocket of my backpack (on wheels!!), or I’ll stick it in my hand bag, depending on what I’m using that day.

    Long distance travel: if I’m flying, I keep inhaler and spacer with me in sweater pockets, but have everything else in my backpack. (control meds, PFM, allergy meds (zyrtec, benadryl and nasarel (nasal spray), reflux meds… I think that’s it, oh, and I too usually take prednisone with me just in case, though right now I don’t have any extra on hand). It usually all goes in the front 2 pockets.
    Basically, the same goes for car trips, except that I keep more of my meds easily accessible, (aka, NOT in my backpack), as car trips tend to be longer and my backpack tends to get stuffed under a pile of other stuff and far away from reach. It tends to get stored in ziplock bags, as they help me keep track of all my meds when I’m on a trip.

    Pretty much all the time that I’m out of the house, or dorm, I have at least 50 mg (2 tablets) of benadryl with me, usually in a pocket. I haven’t really traveled anywhere with a neb yet… so we’ll see how that works. If I go to the NCCD this fall (in Colorado this year!), I want a portable neb with battery… I’m not taking the neb I have currently around a convention with me… it’s too heavy.

  6. Samantha says:

    For short trips (church, day trips etc) i do her controller meds at home before and after (since all of hers are either twice a day or just at bedtime) and stash the xopenex rescue and her spacer usually in my purse or my 18 month olds diaper bag…
    for longer/overnight/etc trips where we need to carry ALL her meds, i have a pretty cloth bag that my grandmother made that fits everything including the nebulizer (we just have the one, no portable at this point) but im reevaluating that in favor of something zippered, and/or with multiple pockets to separate the meds and make it easier to find the one i want.On longer or overnight trips, one xopenex goes in the big med bag, and one stays on me in my pocket or purse just in case she needs it.
    The downside to this method is the inevitable exchange,
    “Whats in that bag?”
    “oh thats miss monkeys medicine”
    “oh wow.. is she sick?”
    “no… these 5 are her daily meds when she ISNT sick, plus the 2 nebulized meds just in case. If she gets sick theres more”
    “*wide eyed stare”*

  7. lpnmon says:

    I always have an albuterol MDI and a spacer with mask in a big ziplock in the diaper bag. On allergy shot days, there’s also the box that the epipens came in tucked in there. DS is only 6 and has to be forced to use the inhaler when he needs it, so I have zero confidence he would keep track of it if he were carrying it.

    A question for you folks that carry MDI’s in your pockets: are you not using spacers? The kids have to use them, and I’ve been told that the meds are better inhaled even by adults when they are used. So when did you stop using them? Or do you have/know of a smaller, pocket sized spacer?

  8. Katherine says:

    I usually rock the cargo pants. I’ve found that I can manage to fit an AC-Plus, Ventolin, PFM, and a pair of Epi-pens in cargo pants or carpenter pants(made a little holster to hook the spacer from the hammer loop). I carry benadryl in my wallet (I’m rather fond of the grape chewable for it’s portability and yummyness).
    At school, my stuff goes either in the front pocket or a water bottle pocket depending on how much other junk I’m carrying in my backpack. When I’m just out and about without pockets my Ventolin travels in my bra. I’m still working on where to stash the epipens but they are new on the scene this month.
    When I’m traveling it all goes in a big ziploc inside the top of a bang or some place easy to grab for.

  9. Sarah says:

    Lpnmom, I buy sweaters with large enough inside pockets to accomodate my spacer. They’re a pain to find, but once found, they pay for themselves in convenience.

  10. MC says:

    Lpnmon– I usually always have my aerochamber with me… however sometimes I don’t. If I know I’m likely to use my inhaler while I’m out somewhere, I’ll make sure to bring the spacer. If I don’t think I have high chances of using the inhaler, I may leave it at home (though I usually still bring it with me). Sometimes I’ve even totally forgotten to bring my inhaler with me somewhere (usually was just on the college campus, not on a longer or off campus trip). I love my spacer and know how more effective it is, and for that very reason, I made it’s own special pouch to make bringing it along easier.

  11. Sara C. says:

    I am a naughty asthmatic, and I do not use a spacer…I haven’t had one prescribed to me…if I’m really really struggling, I go right for a neb…it just works better for me. I guess, in a pinch, I could use my daughter’s spacer…because that is always with us too.

  12. kerri says:

    lpnmon,
    I always have an inhaler in my pocket, but if I have a bag with me (95% of the time) I have my spacer in my bag [especially now that I’m on Atrovent three or four times a day] if I’m gonna be out for more than an hour or two. Also, usually in winter, I just chuck the spacer in my jacket pocket.

    That said, I don’t use it all the time, even though I know first hand how much of a difference it makes, and I know I should. At home, I almost always use the spacer [or I neb].

    If I’m away from home, or somewhere public that I can’t get away from, I RARELY, if EVER, use my spacer in front of people . . . just one of my nineteen-year-old glitches. However, if I’m getting pretty bad, or I’m sick, I do lock myself into a bathroom stall and do (what has turned into several hits on) the inhaler with the spacer.
    I’ve gotten to the point where I know when it’ll make a huge difference or not.

  13. Sarah says:

    The reason why I love my spacer is that I tend to be not so good at pecieving when I’m headed into the yellow. I’m getting better, but it used to be that if I noticed difficulty breathing at all, I was already in the mid 60s on my peak flow. Because I couldn’t catch it early, two puffs with no spacer typically just wasn’t enough to work for me, and there are times in the record from last year before I got my spacer where my daily inhaler use numbered well into the double digits. Then – I got my spacer, and now I rarely break 6 times a day… I have hit the double digits once since I got my spacer, and that was due to a combination of being ill, allergy season, strong perfumes, dust, and an air quality warning day, and it’s really rare (I went to a walk-in clinic instead of the local ER since I know that the local ER won’t do anything for it unless I’m about to die – and even then, I’m not confident they wouldn’t just say I’m having an anxiety attack and my fingers are cold. I am not a fan of them).

  14. Amy says:

    Thanks for the great answers, guys!
    I haven’t read them all yet because I’m traveling, but I will. Pics later today, when I get where I’m going.

  15. Elisheva says:

    My Ventolin and Symbicort live at the bottom of my purse. That’s it. Unless I’m sick or horribly flaring or something, i also throw in my spacer and PFM in a plastic bag, but that doesn’t happen often.

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