Managing Medicines: 7 Tips For The Festive Season

It’s almost time to kick your feet up, get a bit of sun and relax. But it’s important that you don’t take a holiday from your medicine this festive season. In this article we will look at managing medicines during this busy and exciting time of year. We will also cover some important aspects of taking medicines safely while taking part in the festivities.

To learn more about how to avoid holiday delays, and what ZOOM Pharmacy’s holiday hours are check out our other article ‘ZOOM Pharmacy: Avoid Holiday Delays’.

Managing Medicines over the summer holidays

Don’t get caught short on your summer adventures. You never know what injury, illness, or incident may occur – let alone when and where. Taking a good first aid kit or care bag is never a bad idea. Our pharmacy team would recommend any of the following additions:

With medical centres operating at reduced hours and emergency departments at their busiest during the festive season it’s important to go into the holidays with your medicines organised. Check the open days of your medical centre, and if you are travelling consider for how long you are away. Work out if you have enough of your regular medicines to last you over the course of the holidays. If you’re concerned about your supply of medicines, you can always contact our pharmacy team.



During the holidays your normal routines can go out the window when you’re away seeing family, travelling to the bach, or going to events. Developing a medicines schedule that accommodates your plans and festivities can be very helpful. Sharing this with some key family members is always a good idea too, just in case you can’t access it for any reason.

Last minute packing rarely goes well – things are misplaced or forgotten. While losing a pair of socks isn’t a big deal, you don’t want to be caught short with your regular medicines. Packing your medicines carefully so they remain safe and accessible is worth the effort to avoid unnecessary stress once you’re at your destination. Most medicines need to be stored away from direct sunlight and heat, so when you unpack make sure they are in a cool shaded place. Avoid leaving your medicines in the car for prolonged periods of time and remember to keep them out of reach of children.

Over the summer many Kiwis will be treating themselves to some bubbles at Christmas, a crisp beer at the beach or a celebratory cocktail at New Year’s. For those on regular medicines the consumption of alcohol can create problems – affecting how the medicine works, or even possibly creating the risk of a dangerous overdose. Medicines and alcohol are both metabolised in the liver, the interaction can affect how a medicine is metabolised.


Some medicines are metabolised more by the liver – this may mean not enough of the medicine reaches your bloodstream to be effective.


Other medicines are metabolised less – this means you get a much higher dose reaching your bloodstream. This creates the risk of an overdose.


In most cases alcohol can increase the risk of side effects or change the effectiveness of the medicine. The effects of alcohol (drowsiness, sleepiness, or impaired coordination) can act in addition to similar effects of certain medications.


If you plan to have some bubbles this Christmas, it’s important to check if your medicine has a warning label to avoid alcohol. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are worried – If in doubt it’s best you don’t drink alcohol until you know for certain.


Read More: Healthify – Alcohol and medicines

For some medicines there is a risk of drug-induced photosensitivity. This can be caused by certain oral, injected or topical medicines that make your skin more sensitive after exposure to ultra-violet (UV) radiation. It can result in sunburn, redness, or inflammation of the skin. A range of medicines may cause drug-induced photosensitivity if you have recently started on medication and noticed your skin is more sensitive to sunlight tell your doctor. Don’t stop taking your medicines.


Read More: Healthify – Medicines and Photosensitivity

Drive safe over the summer holidays. Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your ability to drive safely. Driving while impaired is against the law in New Zealand, so if you are taking medicines and driving it is important to make sure of the following:


  • Know if any of your medicines affect driving by asking your doctor or pharmacist,
  • Read your medicines labels to see if it can affect or impair your driving ability,
  • Check how you feel before you drive,
  • Don’t drive or stop driving if you feel impaired.


Read More: Healthify – Driving and Medicines

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