USP's Fast Facts for Protecting Your Medicines This Summer

Making sure that your family’s medicines are properly handled and stored during the summer season is an important part of keeping everyone safe, healthy and happy. Here are some summer-time tips from the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) to help protect your medicines.

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Fast Facts for Protecting Your Medicines This Summer

Rockville, MD (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

Fast Facts for Protecting Your Medicines This Summer

Summer is the time for some serious fun in the sun. To keep your family members protected, bug sprays and SPF cover are probably on the top of your list to bring to the pool, waterpark or beach. However, making sure that your family’s medicines are properly handled and stored during the summer season is also an important part of keeping everyone safe, healthy and happy.

Here are some summer-time tips from the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) to help protect your medicines.

Avoid exposure to moisture.

Have you ever accidentally dropped a pill into a wet sink and found it dissolving almost within seconds?

Exposure to moisture has a direct impact on medicine quality. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens when you swallow a pill, and the moisture in your mouth sometimes triggers its breakdown. Generally, the medicine dissolves and travels from your stomach into your bloodstream and delivers the intended therapeutic effect.

So to help maintain the quality of your medicines, make sure that they’re always protected against unwanted moisture.

Store medicines in a cool, dry place.

It seems like your bathroom cabinet is a logical place to keep your medicines.
But think about how many times a day humidity and temperature can change in your bathroom just from shower use alone.

And if the tops of those medicine bottles aren’t firmly secured, moisture can creep into them as the cabinet door is open and shut.

It’s best to keep your medicines in a cool, dry place where the temperature isn’t likely to change.

If you’re travelling, transferring pills from original prescription bottles into a sealed plastic bag is a common space-saving measure. Prescription bottles are usually a dark amber or white opaque color to help prevent the exposure of medicines to light, which can contribute to their breakdown. If you’re storing your medicines in a plastic bag, make sure that you keep them from being exposed to direct light.

If you’re flying, check with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) about any current requirements regarding medicines in your carry-on bags.

Beware of extreme heat.

If you’re driving to your vacation destination, your luggage is likely to be stored in the trunk of your car (along with your medicines) for an extended period of time. The temperature inside the trunk—especially when continuously exposed to sunlight—may get very high.

The same would hold true for baggage stored for a long period of time in an airplane cargo area.

Heat can also be a factor with mail-ordered medicines that are delivered directly to your home. Keep tabs on the date when your medicines are likely to arrive. That way, you can avoid having your medicines sitting in a mailbox, exposed to heat for an extended period of time.

Read medicine labels carefully.

Drug manufacturers take their products through rigorous testing to make sure they remain stable throughout their shelf-life. However, some medicines (e.g., insulin) may require special storage conditions such as refrigeration.

It’s important to read the label and/or talk to your pharmacist about any special instructions for properly storing your medicine.

This is particularly important when you or your family members are away from home, and your normal daily routine changes.

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