For those living with a chronic illness such as heart disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes or any other persistent ailment, travelling can seem like an incredibly daunting task. In fact, the challenge of managing your illness whilst on the road or in a foreign land can sometimes seem like far too much of a burden than it is worth to many who suffer from chronic illness. If you find yourself in this predicament, fret not. Whilst travelling with an illness can indeed be challenging, it is by no means impossible. With proper planning, research, professional advice and precautions, the challenge of travelling can be overcome. In today’s article, we have a look at how you can manage a chronic illness when travelling, so read on to find out more.
Get in Touch With an Online Doctor
One of the major issues when travelling with a chronic illness is not having access to your usual GPs or specialists. This can cause a lot of anxiety, which is why we always recommend looking for an online doctor prior to making your travel plans. In 2020, you will be able to find an online doctor almost anywhere in the world that will be able to offer convenient consultations online with qualified GPs. Online doctors are a fantastic option for those who cannot reach their regular GP, making it the ideal solution for anyone who is travelling with a chronic illness. You can rest assured that medical help is available with the touch of a button.
Pack Your Paperwork
In the chance that you will need to visit a doctor overseas, it is important that you pack your medical paperwork with you when you go on your trip. By having your paperwork on hand, you will help doctors and health practitioners by providing them with your medical history and other information that may be vital to treating your condition. If you don’t already have this information with you, you can simply contact your local GP and have them send you an email or fax that outlines the history of your condition, your treatment regime, any medications you may be on and your most recent test results.
Consult Your Doctor
Prior to making any travel plans, it is important that you consult your regular doctor to find out if you are fit for travel. As human beings, we often tend to overestimate our capabilities and underplay our weaknesses, which is why getting a professional opinion on your travel status is key. By consulting your doctor, you will be able to know if you may need to take specific precautions such as getting travel vaccines or medication for issues such as nausea, altitude sickness or traveller’s diarrhea. We strongly urge that you get an all-clear from your doctor before booking your flight tickets and accommodation.
Travel With a Friend or Family Member
One of the best things you could do for yourself if you suffer from any type of chronic illness is to ensure that you never travel alone. It is always recommended that you travel with at least one friend or family member who is aware of your medical condition should you run into any health-related situations whilst travelling. Having someone with you ensures that you are safe at all times, and that should you feel ill, there is someone there to look after you.
Plan A Relaxed Travel Itenary
The last thing you want to do on your travels is to exert yourself too much, which is why we highly recommend planning a relaxed and reasonable travel itinerary. Instead of cramming too many activities into one day, it is important that you take your time and enjoy your trip in a leisurely fashion. Planning for too much could prove to be detrimental to your condition, and may cause issues to flare up. We also advise against engaging in too much physical activity that may overwork your body. Holidays are meant for relaxing, so do just that – relax!
Don’t Leave Home Without Travel Insurance
When you suffer from a chronic illness, you can never be too careful. This is why it is always recommended that you never leave home without travel insurance. Suffering from an illness could very well mean that you feel fine one day, and awful the next. Apart from the disappointment of having to cut a trip short, the financial burden can prove to be enormous should you not have travel insurance. Travel insurance can help protect you from the unexpected and can cover exorbitant medical fees that would otherwise burn a hole in your pocket.
Up In The Air
One of the most challenging components of travelling for those with chronic illness can be long flights that are incredibly taxing on the body. This is why it is important that you ensure you are well prepared for your flights. This includes keeping well hydrated, walking around every few hours if you’re on a long-haul flight (this helps prevent deep vein thrombosis), wearing loose-fitting clothes and ensuring that you have your medication in your hand luggage. Packing healthy snacks is also recommended, as aeroplane food tends to be extremely high in sodium to counteract our loss of taste at high altitudes.
Watch What You Eat
Most of us love travelling and enjoying the various cuisines on offer at our travel destinations. Whilst we by no means assume you’re going to stick to eating nothing but salads on your holiday, it is also important that you keep track of what you are consuming and don’t push the limits too far. A rapid change in dietary habits can often cause symptoms to flare up which is why we recommend sticking to a healthy and varied diet even when on holiday.
Is travelling with a chronic illness challenging? Yes, it is. Is it impossible? Absolutely not! We hope that this article has given you some valuable insight into how you can plan your next holiday adventure even when living with a chronic illness. All the best and safe travels!