Can You Take Paracetamol In Hand Luggage?

Flying can be a very stressful task. From organising the family, to getting yourself through security with no struggles. There are always delays, and concerns about hundred of things that could go wrong! Its always best to do a bit of ground work before you travel, and make sure you keep yourself clued up on all the procedures and things you need to do to make sure your airport experience is as smooth as can be.


A lot of people often ask what they can and can’t take through airport security in their hand luggage. And one of the biggest questions is about drugs and medicines. People seem to think that you’re not allowed to bring them through! Generally, airport security aren’t as strict as everyone thinks. There are a few rules you have to follow, but other than that, its pretty relaxed.

Paracetamol is one of the most commonly used over the counter analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducing). When it comes to taking paracetamol in your hand luggage, I 100% assure you that you can. I have flown countless amounts of times with many boxes in my little suitcase with me. Of course you can check it into your checked bag if you want to, but I often don’t have the luxury of doing this. I’m a frequent flyer who rarely travels with a checked bag.

If you refer to the Stansted airport website, it says that you can carry any non-prescribed medicine in tablet form, such as paracetamol. There is no limit to what you can carry in tablet or pill form, whether it is prescribed medication or not.

If you read the Stansted airport guidelines and FAQ’s about what you can carry in your hand luggage through security, you’ll find out that you can actually take most things!

Passengers are allowed to take essential medicines sufficient for the trip. Amounts under 100ml must be places in a transparent, plastic bag, with other liquids, but can also be carried separately.

You’re allowed to carry essential medicines of more than 100ml in your hand luggage, but you need supporting documentation from a relevant medical professional, the same applies for gel packs. Gel packs for babies can be carried without documentation.

Remember that the hold area of an aircraft can have different temperatures and medicines can spoil at different temperatures. For this reason I always prefer to have my medicine with me in my hand luggage, and for most flights, and all EU flights, you can definitely take as much paracetamol as you like.

Paracetamol is one of the most common painkillers used today. It can be used for relief of any kind of pain you might have, for example, headache, toothache, period pains, or anything really! Theres not a lot of pain paracetamol can’t tackle.

It is usually taken by mouth in tablet form and passes to the stomach and intestine and into the body to relieve pain and lower a high temperature. About 20% of the medicine is processed in the intestinal wall and the remainder in the liver. As a result a tiny amount of a toxic compound is formed in the liver.  The toxic compound can build up and cause liver failure. Over 150 people die each year as a result of a paracetamol overdose. Remember the maximum amount you can take for adults is 1 gram (1000mg) 4 times a day! So when travelling with paracetamol remember how much you’re allowed, and that any drug can be dangerous if in the wrong hands!

Its also important to bear in mind, that any treatments available over the counter in Britain, are strictly controlled abroad. So to avoid getting into trouble whilst on holiday, make sure you do some research into what can cause a problem.

There is a case of a British woman, Laura Plummer, 33 who could have been facing the death penalty for carrying painkillers on holiday. She was arrested when she was found carrying tramadol and naproxen as she arrived in Egypt to see her husband – who she visits often during the year. She was made to sign a form that she believed would allow her to leave, but instead was held in a 15ft by 15ft cell with 25 other woman for almost a month. Her family said she had been arrested for what authorities in Egypt call “drug trafficking”. She was told she could face up to 25 yers in jail, or even the death penalty. She is still in Egyptian prison now, waiting her sentence.

So, its advisable to read up on what medications are allowed in what countries. For example in Egypt, there are strict rules on any drugs containing opioid analgesics, such as Tramadol and codeine. Some paracetamol products contain codeine, so I would be aware of these products.

This is not to say that Egypt is especially strict, and once again, if you have your prescription and a reasonable amount to prove personal use, then you’ll be fine.

So, to summarise, you can take paracetamol in your hand luggage, and as much of it as you want or need. If you want to take liquid paracetamol, like Calpol, then make sure its in a 100ml bottle and in a plastic bag when you go through security. If you stick to these simple steps, you really have nothing to worry about! Don’t stress and try and relax and enjoy your holiday!

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