A purse with light shining out of it around an inhaler, medication bottle and a phone

Did I Pack Enough?

Last updated: October 2022

One of my biggest anxieties with asthma is making sure I have all my medications. There is nothing quite like the anxiety that arises when you realize you do not have the medicine you need, especially when you really need it. Thankfully I live two minutes away from my pharmacy and my doctor refills my prescriptions stat, so this has not happened to me too often. Insurance can sometimes throw a wrench into things when they are not as apt to cover the medications, but again, I have been lucky enough to avoid this predicament as a regular occurrence.

Even if I have copious amounts of medications, that does not help if I do not pack them and take them with me. On an average day, my purse contains rescue nebulizer vials, multiple of my maintenance nebulizer vials, and a rescue inhaler. My treatment regimen demands every 3-4 hour nebs, so I have to make sure I have all that it requires if I am planning on being out for longer than that. A usual day of errands for me requires packing two types of rescue meds, two types of controller meds, my nebulizer, a car inverter, nebulizer parts, and a load of confidence.

As you can imagine, there have been more times than not when I am missing at least one part of my packing list. I had to leave prom early because I did not have the literal tubing for my nebulizer. Another time I cut a visit to see my Grandma short since I did not pack the correct neb vials - why do they all have to look the same? Clearly, I am no stranger to medication mishaps.

How will I make sure I pack enough asthma medicine for trips out of town?

I have two big events coming up that will uproot me from my usual, comfortable regimen sitting in my bedroom. I am getting ready to go out of town (far enough I have to fly) and in a few weeks, I will be packing up and heading off to college. The latter thankfully won't be too big of an issue considering I am well within a day's travels, but I cannot say my anxiety and stress over the transition has been entirely eliminated by that reassurance.

How do I plan on making sure I'm taken care of while I'm away from home? Here are some strategies I intend to use in order to ensure my lungs and I are on the right track.

  1. Run through a typical day of treatments, both as I would medicate with more symptoms or my average level of symptoms. I am no stranger to planning my medication regimen down to a T; every day is variable, with different needs, different timing, and different schedules. I frequently employ this technique when I won't be at home, the only difference in this situation is that it will be a bit longer of an escapade.
  2. Replicate my treatments one-for-one. One of my best friends actually gave me this idea, and I think it will be quite helpful, particularly for my weekend away. She suggested I take a day, and every time I use a nebulizer vial, set aside an extra one for my travel. This will help me ensure I have as much as I need, but it might not be too helpful if my lungs decide they need more than I expected. See #5 for a solution!
  3. Find a pharmacy close-by. My three-day travel won't really allow me to do this too well, but I fully intend on keeping some prescriptions accessible when I move into college. Again, a two-hour roundtrip is not entirely burdensome if I have to come back home to pick up my medications occasionally, but overall I think it will be much easier (and less stressful!) if I know I have a place just up the road where I can get my medicines.
  4. Get my medicine through the mail. When COVID first started, my local pharmacies got to be well-versed in mail-order prescriptions. I usually avoid doing this if possible considering how close my local drugstore is, but it sure can help in a pinch. The only downside of receiving medicines in the mail is if they have to be climate-controlled (i.e. you can't leave them in the mailbox for too long) or if you are really in a rush and need them quicker than the postal service can handle.
  5. Think I packed enough? Pack some more! Thankfully, my medicines and nebulizers appear to be TSA approved for my trip, so it definitely will not hurt to make sure I have plenty more than what I need. When in doubt, pack it! It is much better, safer, and less anxiety-provoking to have more, than to not have enough.

Time to travel

Though I do not feel 100% confident that I won't have a medication faux pas, using some of these strategies will help me make sure both my lungs and I are taken care of. I try not to let asthma slow me down in any other domain, so why do it let it when it comes to travel?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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