6 Strategies for traveling when you have a chronic illness, because it doesn’t have to ruin your plans
I can’t recall a time when I did not have the travel bug, which this was a dream come true when, about two decades ago, my journalism career took an unexpected turnI had the opportunity to travel to job and write about it. What could be much better, right? Although I had been fortunate enough to travel throughout the world throughout my childhood and college years, I had not traveled after graduation, first because of financial limitations, and then for health reasons. I became sick in my early 20therefore, however it took five years to get physicians to diagnose me with what we now understand is lupus, an autoimmune disorder characterized by extreme fatigue, and joint pain, photosensitivity, fevers, as well as headaches. Functioning daily required Herculean effort, or so the concept of having enough strength to journey and spend days researching new places seemed from the query. Once I was finally diagnosed with 2017, I began a treatment program that includes acupuncture, medication, dietary adjustments, and DBT therapy.
Therapy has helped enormously, but lupus is not curable, so the illness is going to be part of my life, and also flareups are unavoidable. I was thrilled at the possibility of becoming a travel writer because it meant I would be traveling all around the nation and planet, but by a health standpoint, I was nervous. So I figured I would give it a go and, if regular travel took a heavy toll on my bodyI knew I could stop in any moment.
It’s been about two years since I started traveling at least once per month, mainly for work. My excursions range from fast weekend getaways in America to many weeks in a foreign country. Inevitably, I’ve ended up in situations where I have a flareup in a different state or nation but, via experience, I’ve discovered it’s completely possible to travel with a chronic illness–it merely requires advance preparation, versatility, and utilizing some basic hacks that could make a world of difference. Here are six strategies for traveling with a chronic illness.
1. Speak to your doctor in advance
First things first: Before booking a trip, discuss it over with your doctor and make sure he or she believes it safe. Explain your trip plan and itinerary, and inquire whether they have any suggestions or concerns. Fundamentally, get the”all clear” from your doctor to ensure you’re not taking any unreasonable risks that could compromise your health.
2. Research your destination
One lesson I learned the hard way is the fact that it’s important to study your destination purely from a wellness standpoint. For instance, I have asthma in addition to lupus, therefore when I had a visit to a location with a high elevation and kicked it off with a protracted snowshoe trip, I had been in a huge pain. From the following day, I’d developed severe altitude illness (of course even the most healthy people can get altitude sickness, but it is a major blow when you are already managing a chronic illness).
Now, along with changes in altitude, I also keep a close eye on the climate and temperature. Like most people with autoimmune diseases, I am allergic to temperature (both hot and cold ) and spending too long in sunlight triggers lupus flareups. Familiarizing myself with the geography and weather of my destinations has helped me prepare for excursions and, sometimes, opt out if it seems like I will be missing out on too much since too much sun exposure is dangerous for me. All our triggers are different, so do your study with yours in your mind.
3. Make your health a priority while you package
The main thing to pack is, naturally, your drugs –and keep them in your carry-on in case your checked luggage does not arrive on time. I have also corrected my packing list to include matters that shield my immune system and supply symptom relief. Planes are renowned for being filled with germs, so I recommend packaging Clorox wipes on your carry-on–the first thing I do once I board a plane would be wipe down my tray table and armrests. In addition, I use hand sanitizer consistently. Catching a cold on a visit is really a bummer for anyone, but for those people with chronic diseases, it can lead to a significant setback.
Other things that I package are hydrating facial masks, warm socks, and both hot and cold compresses, because all of these are things I use in home when my symptoms flare up. Any things you use for symptom relief in your home must definitely be on your packing checklist –if you start to feel unwell on your trip, you will want to get these handy.
4. Have a plan in place in case you experience an emergency
My coverage is hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. As soon as you’ve reserved your accommodations and set your itinerary, make sure that you locate the closest hospital and urgent care center in your destination. Keep these addresses and phone numbers with you always just in case you need medical attention. If you are traveling to a foreign country, I strongly advise getting travel medical insurance.
5. ) Don’t overbook yourself
Each time I book a trip, I naturally need to do as far as possible and make the most of my time there. However, I’ve learned that I want to be more realistic about my own limitations. Before I got sick, I’d be out and about from dawn until dusk. Now, that is not feasible for me and I’ve learned that is fine. I make sure that you allow some downtime every day so I can return to my hotel and re-charge.
If your trip involves any physically reckless activities, I suggest staggering them and getting more leisurely days in between. And versatility is key–if you are having a difficult day health-wise and you also happen to have a significant activity or trip planned, don’t force yourself. To start with, the many pleasurable activities aren’t all that pleasurable when you’re having trouble standing up. Second, compelling yourself will cause further health drawbacks and might affect the remainder of your trip. Rather, re-jigger your schedule when needed so you are able to rest up and rejuvenate. It’s always disappointing to need to cancel or re-schedule a thing, but your body will thank you and also you will be more likely to create the most of the rest of your journey.
6. Stick with your diet (if appropriate ) and Keep wholesome
Many people with chronic illnesses have particular foods which trigger our symptoms. If a part of your treatment plan involves diet, try and adhere with it as much as possible whilst traveling. This is another area where I recommend planning beforehand, particularly if you’re traveling to another country. Get accustomed to the cuisine as well as the dining choices in the region where you will be remaining and be certain you’ll have the ability to locate foods that are consistent with what your doctor recommends.
It is also imperative to stay hydrated while you’re traveling. Specifically, be certain you drink a lot of water on the trip. It’s often tempting to consume more alcohol than normal when we are on holiday, but when alcohol triggers or worsens your symptoms, that glass of wine or cocktail in dinner just isn’t worthwhile. Every time that I’ve decided to have more than 1 drink, I have kicked myself in the morning since I awaken with a headache and sense complete worse for the wear. This, obviously, means I may not have the ability to do as much sightseeing as I planned, and sacrificing those opportunities just isn’t worthwhile for a drink.
Every chronic ailment is different and we know our bodies better than anybody, thus the most significant issue is to prepare in advance with your precise causes and symptoms in mind. But if you love to travel, there is no need to sacrifice incredible experiences. We might need to correct just the way we traveling and do much more advance preparation than our healthier peers, but we don’t need to let’s illnesses eliminate an activity which brings us pleasure.
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