Ultimate Survival Guide for New Immigrants to Canada

March 16, 2022

Pack Smart- Basic Medicines and Stuff to Bring on Flight

In that last-minute hassle and hustle, it's quite common to forget a few important things. We all have been a victim of this situation at some point and regret about it halfway through the journey. There are certain drugs that are classified as a prescription but are easily available in some countries. We will discuss those as well briefly. So, here is a list of things that I think you may want to consider bringing on board.

Prescription Medicines

Prescription drugs must be accompanied by a prescription that has been typed in English. A hand-written prescription isn't usually considered valid and it might give you some trouble if you are carrying narcotic painkillers. So, try to avoid that situation and get a prescription that matches the number of doses you intend to carry. It is relatively easy to ask discuss your situation with a physician and get all the drugs mentioned on one or more prescriptions. You might need specific drugs for blood pressure, diabetes, etc. but we'll only discuss the general ones that all of us might want to have while traveling -


These are the drugs that bring down body fever. A bunch of them are available over the counter and are not a concern for anyone.
Acetaminophen also known as paracetamol and ibuprofen is the most commonly used anti-pyretic.
Apart from these two, it's better to have a prescription for drugs like nimesulide, which is often found in combination with acetaminophen.

My opinion: get all 3 on prescription


Common Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory OTC drugs are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Since diclofenac is banned in some parts of the world and not OTC in the majority of the world, it is better to have a prescription for it and other more potent drugs.

My opinion: get diclofenac on prescription. Keep it in reserve and use it only if needed. Since it is stronger than others, it's better to have to for a rough day.


are used to prevent allergic response. When traveling to an environment you have never been exposed to, there are some chances of having an allergic reaction to unknown things like pollen, insect bite, etc. Common ant-histamine drugs are Cetirizine and Levocetirizine. Both these drugs are OTC in Canada. Keep in mind that these are sleep-inducing drugs, so you might want to avoid them during your productive time.

My opinion: carry some amount with prescription as they might not be OTC in the country with connecting flight.

Motion Sickness

Promethazine, Cyclizine, and dimenhydrinate are some common drugs used to help with motion sickness.  Good thing is that all of these drugs are OTC, but you might want to be careful with them as some of them could be sleep-inducing.  You certainly don't need to have them on a prescription.

Diarrhea medicine

Diarrhea during traveling could be a nightmare. Loperamide and Bismuth subsalicylate is commonly used to treat diarrhea.  Both of them are available over the counter and perfectly ok to take on a flight without prescription.


Along with OTC solutions, you might want to consider a strong drug as a backup. You might need to use them when conventional anta-acids fail. Ranitidine goes by Zantac, which is OTC but many other generic versions need a prescription.

My opinion: get a few doses of ranitidine on prescription to avoid grey zones.

General Anti-Biotics

Commonly used Broad-spectrum antibiotics - ampicillin, amoxicillin, cefixime, etc. are the drugs' used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. It is good to have a few anti-biotics in case you catch a bad thread infection or something else. No antibiotic is available over the counter and it might be tough to get a prescription for an antibiotic that you might have used for ages. For that situation, it would be a good idea to bring some for the day when you are not willing to go to the doctor immediately.

My opinion: carry a small quantity with you along with the prescription.

Antibiotic for Diarrhea

Azithromycin is the preferred first-line antibiotic for the treatment of acute diarrhea. Just like every other anti-biotic, it is not available OTC and needs to be carried with a prescription.

Additional Medicines

We have already covered the major bits, but you might want to have a look at a few more additional things.

  • Antacid
  • Cough drops, cough suppressant, or expectorant
  • decongestant
  • laxative
  • sedative for sleep aid
  • Inhalers
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Eye drops

First Aid kit

  • Antibacterial or antifungal ointments
  • Digital thermometer
  • Antiseptic wound cleaner
  • Bandages
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cotton swabs
  • hydrocortisone cream

Medical Supplies

  • Insect Repellent
  • sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand sanitizer pouch/wipes - for cabin use
  • Q-Tips
  • Self-adhesive wrap: Wrap up sore knees, ankles or other injuries
  • Sterile bandages, ACE (rolled elastic) bandages, cotton
  • Digital thermometer
  • Wet wipes
  • Gloves
  • Masks

Luggage Supplies/Not allowed inside the cabin

  • Tweezers
  • Nail-cutter
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel/blades
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Cuticle clipper
  • Metallic Nail files

Extra pair of eyeglasses and contacts

If you wear prescription lenses, it is super important to carry an extra pair in case you damage or misplace the one you are using. Having an extra pair would save you a lot of trouble. I have learned this the hard way when I broke my glasses at the airport and have to continue my journey with blurry vision. It was pretty tough to figure out the directions and read the boards and signs.

Have Questions? Feel Free to Reach Me