As bushfires continue across Australia, NPS MedicineWise would like to offer four pieces of advice regarding taking and storing medicines during emergency conditions.
“There can be a lot to remember during an emergency, especially if you need to evacuate or find yourself in an unexpected location, but your medicines are there to keep you healthy and prevent unwanted health episodes, so they need to be considered a priority,” says Nerida Packham, pharmacist and Medicines Line manager at NPS MedicineWise.
1) As much as is practical, store medicines away from heat, moisture and sunlight
“Some medicines will not work as well, or at all, if they are stored above or below a certain temperature,” says Ms Packham. “Others may change form or become difficult to use. For example, heat can cause gelatin capsules to soften and stick together, and ointments and creams become runny.
“Check the original packaging or the consumer medicines information (CMI) for more details on storage, but generally the advice is for most medicines to keep them at room temperature. If you are likely to be in an area of high temperatures, find the coolest, most secure place available (not the fridge or freezer unless the packaging instructions say to),” she says.
Information about the safe storage of medicines is available on the NPS MedicineWise website at www.nps.org.au/consumers/managing-your-medicines#storing-medicines.
2) Keep medicines in their original packaging
“If you do need to leave your current residence, don’t be tempted to just bring ‘what you will need’ in unmarked bottles or small food containers. And with liquid medicines make sure to bring the correct measuring cup or syringe, so you do not end up giving the wrong dose,” says Ms Packham.
3) Make an up-to-date Medicines List so you have your medicine details on hand
Our free NPS Medicines List is available as a PDF