Safe medicine use following a natural disaster

After a natural disaster like Harvey, it’s important to inspect all medicines that may have been affected before taking them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that drugs exposed to flooding can become contaminated, which can lead to serious health issue.

Even if a drug is in its original containers with snap lids, screw-top caps or droppers, the FDA recommends they be discarded if they came in contact with flood water. Medicines placed in other containers other than original packaging should also be thrown out.

When it comes to medicine used to treat life-threatening conditions, a replacement may not be readily available. The FDA says that if the drug looks unchanged, such as pills in a wet container appearing dry, then they can be taken until a replacement is available. Do not take any pills that are wet.

Temperature-sensitive drugs, such as liquid antibiotics or insulin, lose potency if not refrigerated. The medicine should be discarded if electrical power has been shut off for a long time. If the drug is to treat a life-threatening condition, the FDA says it can still be used until a replacement is available.

Visit the FDA's website here for more information.