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Old 27-02-2011, 19:13   #1
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Medication While Cruising

If you have the need fro continued use of medication while cruising, how do you handle it? Between my wife and I we need meds for High BP and diabetes testing (no insulin or meds); how do you deal with it?
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Old 27-02-2011, 19:27   #2
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Re: Medication while cruising.

A lot of countries have a very lax pharmacy system that allows you to buy any drug you want without prescription. Thailand and Mexico are two but I'm sure there are plenty more.

If you are going anywhere tropical be sure to carry a big fat bag of antibiotics. You want 200 pills or so.
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Old 27-02-2011, 19:44   #3
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Re: Medication while cruising.

It depends on where you are cruising, but our experience in the Caribbean has been that medications are readily available. We've found a pharmacy in St. Martin that orders medication for us, and the price is roughly 50% of what we paid in the states for the same branded medication. We've remarked that if we weren't cruising through here every year, we could pay for a week's vacation including airfare to fly down and buy our medicine every year.

We normally buy a year's worth at a time, to avoid running out in small, out of the way places.
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Old 27-02-2011, 19:53   #4
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Re: Medication while cruising.

Agreed on the outrageous US drug prices bit. I paid $660 for a packet of 30 pills at Long's in Honolulu. The same product (no generic, Chinese knock off or anything) cost $50 in Port Vila. It cost $80 for a 5 minute visit to get the prescription from a physician in Honolulu. The same service from a French doctor in Vila cost $40.

OUCH !
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Old 27-02-2011, 20:00   #5
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Re: Medication while cruising.

While my wife was still with us, she used to take the pill, but anytime we were at sea she would stock up on it before we left, she ended up decided to get the implant instead as it was such a pain to see doctors in countries that want entire medical histories before they will prescribe anything.
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Old 27-02-2011, 22:50   #6
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Re: Medication while cruising.

Like a lot of the advice already given, much depends on where you're cruising and how long you'll be gone for. A great first step would be to talk to your physician.

Another very proactive step you should consider is taking a CPR class and getting some basic first aid training (especially for stroke, heart attack/cardiac arrest, and trauma). My wife and I have been licensed EMT's for the last 17 years (we both have active licenses) and have served on our local volunteer ambulance squad whenever we've been home. We've recently been giving seminars at rendezvous about emergency medicine onboard. After 5 lectures and meeting about 300 people, not one non-EMT/non-firefighter knew what the first thing to do in a medical emergency onboard was. There are 3 basic things that everyone should know. Most people get 1. A few get 2. No one gets all three - they all miss the first, most important one. Anyone wanna guess?
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Old 28-02-2011, 04:24   #7
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Re: Medication while cruising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
. There are 3 basic things that everyone should know. Most people get 1. A few get 2. No one gets all three - they all miss the first, most important one. Anyone wanna guess?

How about just posting them for all of us?
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Old 28-02-2011, 05:09   #8
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Re: Medication while cruising.

Get your doctor to prescribe a years' worth and buy them from overseas suppliers, so once a year you have to hang out near a post office. If you shop online you can get some good prices, we use Canada Drugs. Costco can have some great deals.
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Old 28-02-2011, 05:13   #9
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Re: Medication while cruising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
... There are 3 basic things that everyone should know. Most people get 1. A few get 2. No one gets all three - they all miss the first, most important one. Anyone wanna guess?
Don't tease - just give us the A,B,Cs.
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Old 28-02-2011, 05:24   #10
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Re: Medication while cruising.

Radio for help?
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Old 28-02-2011, 07:09   #11
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Re: Medication while cruising.

After doing this a variety of times, I know that it's much better to commit to answers and think about what you'd really do. It's OK to be wrong - it'll absolutely make you remember if an emergency strikes. I'll give it all up in a few days - one item per day.

Radio for help is one of the three, Woodchuck. It's the right idea. It's #2 of 3. Expanding it for onboard use, my general advice is:

If tied up at a marina:
- Give 5 blasts
- Call 911

If moving or at anchor:
- Issue a MAYDAY
- Give 5 blasts every few minutes

This is obviously for a real medical emergency. And obviously if you're way out in the middle of nowhere, 5 blasts if worthless.

The 5 blasts is because the boat next to you at anchor might be a couple of EMT's. We carry defibrillators and a fair amount of medical equipment/supplies onboard. Anyone in that anchorage will respond faster than any ambulance who will take 30 minutes or more to get to you. I know that if I hear 5 blasts in an anchorage, it's fire or medical. Cruising boats are filled with doctors and nurses who all have experience in helping and are exempt from liability in most cases because of Good Samaritan laws.
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Old 28-02-2011, 11:11   #12
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Re: Medication while cruising.

"I know that if I hear 5 blasts in an anchorage, it's fire or medical."
I think most of us would suspect someone was on a collision course, or some similar "danger" and if we didn't see any danger coming at us--ignore it. It is supposed to be a danger signal, warning others off, not a "come to my aid", as far as I know.

On the other hand, there's SOS. That tells me "come hither!".
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Old 28-02-2011, 11:21   #13
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Re: Medication while cruising.

5 blasts signifies danger or doubt. Doubt is usually the meaning in moving situations.

A more appropriate danger signal would be flames in a bucket on the bow but that's impractical in this situation. Flares might be a response too. But at anchor, 5 blasts is going to get most people out asking, "what was that?". And that's what you want.
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Old 28-02-2011, 12:01   #14
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Re: Medication while cruising.

Not correcting anyone; if I had an emergency I'd lay on every noise making device I had. But for whatever it's worth the official distress signals are here, and for fog horns it's a continuous never ending blast. With a handheld it's probably easier to do the 5 short since you'll probably need to some something else than just stand there emptying an air can.

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=Rule3637
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Old 28-02-2011, 12:59   #15
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Re: Medication while cruising.

This is a bit of a drift. However, I would highly suggest that you consider having an AED (http://www.americanheart.org/present...tifier=3011859) on board if you are cruising. Especially for those who are older or at higher risk for heart attack (coronary artery disease, hypertension, PAD, family history, high lipids, etc.). This device can truly be a life saver for a person whose heart stops or who is in some other life threatening cardiac arrythmia. Being trained in CPR, Heimlich, and rescue breathing is essential too. However, a person (or even two people) can only continue CPR for so long. What's more is that if there only two of you aboard ..... someone has to call for help and sail the vessel. Finally, there are dangerous cardiac rhythms that can only be converted by defibrillation, not through CPR. BUT ..... PLEASE LEARN CPR. Thanks for letting me share.
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