Keeping Your Medication Information Safe

On a recent post, a Asthma.Net community member mentioned they struggle to dispose of their old medications because of the huge hassle it is to block off your personal information from the outside of bottles and inhalers. Honestly, when I return items to the pharmacy, I don’t clear my personal information because hopefully, nobody in the chain of custody will be an identity thief.

However, if you’re recycling a hundred inhaler actuators, pill bottles, or the boxes that every darn thing comes inside of, masking your personal information is a really good idea.

My favorite way to mask personal information

We’re starting with the most specific way but it’s my favorite, though it may require you to go to the store and/or Amazon. I mean, the shopping Amazon, not the rainforest… I know, you understood without that sidebar.

This thing is a game-changer because it ACTUALLY MAKES IT FUN to get rid of the personal information on EVERYTHING with a papery surface, including prescription labels or hospital bracelets or mail! Honestly, I loved mine so much I bought another 4 for Christmas gifts!

hospital bracelet

Photo from following my friend Stephen’s most recent hospitalization, sent to me by his husband.

This Guard Your ID rolling stamp thing has probably popped up in your Facebook feed before, and while I wanted one almost immediately, I never got around to ordering one. So when I stumbled upon one in a local bookstore, I bought it immediately (mine, however, is pink!). This thing is a rolling black stamp with faker letters in a repeating pattern, which means your information is literally unreadable underneath.

Now, in the event you don’t just have one of these lying around, don’t worry, you’ve got other options.

The sharpie

Oh yes, I use Sharpie not just as a generic term like Kleenex but because I legitimately have a zillion actual Sharpie brand permanent markers. This is probably the best/easiest go-to method for most people, just to scribble atop their personal information on the labels of the product they are discarding. The one issue with this method is that usually if you turn the surface you’ve written on, the black printer ink beneath the black marker may be visible when it catches the sunlight. I have no idea how this happens, but be mindful of this before you toss your stuff out—it may not be as safe as you think. (The stamp above as far as I can tell has a similar gloss to the ink so it alleviates this issue!)

The “Painful Peel”

Dia coined the name of this one last night when I mentioned this topic to her! This is the one where you try to get the label off the actual surface of whatever it is stuck to, and typically it is near impossible and generally painful (of the mental variety but I assume if you give up less quickly than me it could make your fingertips/nail beds hurt, too. 100 times out of 100, the label will rip 500 times into itty bitty pieces, succeeding in masking your information, but making that process take a very long time.

White paint or correction fluid?

Look, if you are more patient than I, you could probably use correction fluid or white paint on your labels, but this seems like way too much work to let dry. I don’t even paint fun things because of this, never mind things I am just going to throw away! But again, it will do in a pinch!

How do you block out your information on medication and other documents before you get rid of them?

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