Traveling is meant to be a time for adventure and exploration of new or favorites places. However, traveling with a chronic illness can make going on an adventure stressful if it’s your first time or if you are under prepared. There are steps that you can take if you or your loved one has a chronic illness such as diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, asthma or arthritis so that your travels can be worry free.
Talk to Your Doc
If you are going to be traveling away from home for a long duration of time, it is wise to check in with your doctor 4 to 6 weeks before your departure date. Discuss any possible complications that you or your doctor may be concerned with and come up with an action plan of how to resolve the issue if they do arise. This might be a good time to discuss with your doctor some digital healthcare technology, debunking some of the myths for both of you about the technology that might help you to keep track of your blood sugar or blood pressure, or help remind you to take your medications.
Consider bringing your traveling companion to your appointment so that they can hear how they might help in an emergency situation that pertains to your chronic illness, like how to spot and treat a blood sugar crash or asthma attack before the situation elevates.
If you require medical equipment to support you while you travel, make sure your means of travel and your accommodations are prepared to allow you have them. For example, if you utilize a CPAP machine while you sleep, make sure there is an outlet next to your hotel bed or remember to pack a battery and keep it charged. If you are on daily medications or daily injections, you may need to contact your insurance company to clear getting more than your monthly allowance to ensure that you have enough for while you are away from home. It will also require your doctor to call in an updated prescription for you as well.
If you are traveling to a foreign country and have gastrointestinal issues, such as GERD or Crohn’s disease, it is wise to be diligent about taking your medications to avoid a potential uncomfortable situation on your return flight home. If there are over-the-counter remedies to help you manage your health, do your research and note where the closest drug store is to where you are staying to be adequately prepared.
Make sure to pack all your medications and needed supplies in your carry-on bag so that you are not stuck without them if the airline loses your bag. You cannot count on being able to purchase your needed prescriptions very easily once away from home. Also, make sure that all your medications are labeled with your name to avoid any suspicion when passing through security. If your medications are some of those that you may need immediately, keep them easily accessible in the front of your bag. If you take multiple medications a day, consider getting a pill organizer. You won’t have to think about your prescriptions while you are trying to explore a new place.
Traveling can once again be focused on the adventure, rather than the stress of health management, with just a little pre-planning. With the help of your doctor and take the offensive to protect your health. It will likely become routine and get easier with time and practice. One last note: remember that medications should be taken at hourly intervals and not at the same time every day if you are switching time zones in your travels. It is best to keep on the schedule you will return to once you get back home.