Sunday, August 14, 2011

Travel for Those with a Chronic Health Condition

By Anne Pagnoni

As the end of summer nears, you may be considering a last minute vacation. If you or another member of your party has a chronic health condition, then there are some things that you may want to do before embarking on that fantastic voyage.

As soon as possible prior to your trip, arrange to meet with your physician to discuss any risks which may be involved with you traveling. This is especially important if you are traveling internationally as you may need immunizations or preventative medications prior to departure. Ask your physician for copies of recent EKG, laboratory, and x-ray results to take with you on your trip. If you are traveling to a country where English is not the primary language, then you may wish to have your medical records translated to the destination’s primary language. Keep in mind that while you may speak the language, if you are in a medically unstable condition, then you may not be able to communicate your health needs with the treating physician.

If you will be on an airplane or in a car for a long amount of time and have a history of circulatory problems, then you will want to take precautions to avoid swelling in the legs and developing blood clots. Make sure that you get up out of your seat or out of your car every hour or two and take a short walk; perform leg lifts several times per hour while sitting in your seat; and wear compression stockings.

Begin packing your luggage a week or two ahead of time to make the task more manageable. Pack all medications and medical supplies in your carry-on luggage. Bring extra medications in case you are delayed on your trip. Make sure your medications are in their original bottles to avoid any unnecessary delay at customs.

Contact your wireless cell phone provider to make sure that your phone can work internationally. Have the names, phone numbers, and fax numbers for all treating physicians and your pharmacy. Make sure you have the local numbers as 1-800 numbers typically do not work outside of the country. Have phone numbers of the local hospital in the country where you’ll be staying.

If you suffer from blood sugar issues or require food to take medications, then have a light snack on hand. This is especially important if you are traveling by plane as meals are no longer always served during a long flight.

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