Medicine left in scorching hot car should be discarded right away

With summer months bringing one heat wave after another, it's important to be mindful of medication often forgotten in a scorching vehicle; Whether it's medicine or cosmetics, if it's been left in the merciless sun, thrown it out immediately
Alexandra Lukash, Nir Cohen|
Global warming is upon us, and as temperatures soar it's crucial to consider how you store your medicines at home, and to avoid keeping them in overly hot places.
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"If you accidentally leave medicine in your car, discard it immediately," warns David Pappo, chairman of the Israel Pharmacists Association. Clinical pharmacist Hagit Massad adds that heat can also pose risks to cosmetics.
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הסכנות באחסון תרופות בקיץ במכונית
הסכנות באחסון תרופות בקיץ במכונית
Keep medicine out of a hot car
(Photo: shutterstock)
"Throughout the medicine production and supply chain, it's kept at a controlled temperature of 59°F-77°F all year round. However, issues arise when patients take it home and expose it to higher temperatures while running errands or leaving it in a car, which can reach temperatures as high as 140°F, compromising the medicine's freshness and quality," Pappo said.
"When storing medicines at home, it's best to keep them in a cool place, like a wardrobe, away from hot and humid areas like the bathroom or kitchen. Avoid refrigerating medications, as it can harm certain types, like rectal suppositories, which need a specific temperature to dissolve properly. Consulting pharmacists about medications is essential for proper usage and effectiveness," he added.
Can you visually spot bad medicine? "When in doubt, discard."
Hagit Massad, a clinical pharmacist working in northern Israel, provides some much-needed tips on storing medication during summer months:
What is the best way to store medicine? "The best way to store medicine is to keep them in their original packaging. This helps you identify the medicine easily and ensures you know the expiration date. It also protects the medicine's components from air and light, maintaining its effectiveness."
What are the best locations inside the house to store them? "To store medicines properly, choose a dry and cool place, ideally below 77°F, like a high cupboard out of the reach of children. Avoid keeping them in the bathroom, where humidity and heat can harm their composition. Keep them away from heat sources and direct sunlight. Always refer to the packaging and leaflet for specific storage instructions and follow them carefully."
Should medicine be stored in the refrigerator? "Medicines that need refrigeration are labeled accordingly and should be stored in the refrigerator, but avoid placing them in the door due to temperature fluctuations, and never in the freezer. Other medicines should not be refrigerated as low temperatures may affect their composition and efficacy. Remember, refrigeration won't extend their validity beyond the specified date."
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חגית מסד
חגית מסד
Hagit Massad
(Photo: Clalit spokesperson unit)
What medication should be kept refrigerated? "Certain medications require cool storage, and you can easily identify them by their labels. These include diabetes drugs like insulin, injectable preparations, biological drugs for arthritis, Crohn's disease, psoriasis, various oncology medications, specific antibiotics after administration, and lab-prepared drugs like omeprazole syrup."
Can medicine be kept in the vehicle for a short while? "During scorching summer days, car temperatures can soar dangerously high. Extreme heat poses a risk to medication, compromising its composition, effectiveness, and potentially causing harm. For critical medications like heart, epilepsy and certain hormone drugs, even slight dosage changes can disrupt a patient's balance. It's best to never leave medicine in the car, however briefly."
What about flights? "When traveling by plane, keep your medications in your carry-on bag, not the checked luggage. The temperature changes in the cargo hold can harm the medicines. Also, check the liquid volume limits allowed on flights to ensure your medication complies. Stay prepared and keep your medicine safe during air travel."
Where should cosmetics and beauty products be stored? "Various cosmetic products, makeup and sun protection preparations can be affected by heat and may become damaged. To maintain their quality, store them in a cool and dry place, just like you would with medicine."
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