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Your Ultimate Guide to Travelling with COPD

Travelling can be pretty challenging if you have the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), especially when you do not have a solid plan. Whether you’re travelling for business, pleasure, or medical treatment, you need to take extra precautions to ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable.

Here are seven travel tips you must keep in mind before you start packing your bags and head out the door –

Scheduling an Appointment with Your Doctor

If you’re making a travel plan, you need to consult your doctor and tell them about it. Before you book your tickets, you need to ask –

● Is it safe for you to travel?
● If you’re visiting areas at a higher altitude, will the change in oxygen level affect your health?

Your healthcare provider may schedule a pre-trip appointment to discuss a couple of things to ensure your safety. You may also have to undergo a basic physical to check whether you’re fit to travel.

Carrying Your Medical Records

When you see your doctor for your pre-trip consultation, don’t forget to ask them for a copy of all your medical records. You can also ask your doctor to write down a summary of your care to help medical professionals understand your treatment and medical history in an emergency at an unfamiliar location.

Make sure your medical records contain a list of medications, your prescription for oxygen therapy (if you’re using it), and a declaration from your doctor that you are fit for travel.

Keep your medical records organized in a folder with you in person to avoid losing them.

Avoiding Traveling Alone

When you have a serious health condition, it is better to avoid travelling alone. If you have a significant other, friend, or relative who can accompany you on your journey, ask them to join you.

In case you fall ill on the trip and cannot answer crucial questions regarding your condition, the person accompanying you can do so. Regardless of who you’re travelling with, you must make sure they are familiar with your treatment plan and medical care, such as your medications, medical equipment, and oxygen requirements.

Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

If you don’t want to undergo any insurance mishaps, make sure you read your insurance policy carefully. Many people don’t know that traditional Medicare doesn’t cover medical care outside the United States, except in a few situations. Hence, you must know everything before you travel. Also, keep a copy of your insurance with your main luggage and carry-on bag.

Stocking Up on Meds

Nothing could be worse than being at an unfamiliar destination and running out of your medication. Because of this reason, it is paramount that you stock up on medicines that are vital to your health and don’t mind buying a couple of extra doses. Also, carry your medication in its original container with a label and prescription in your name.

Obtaining Information on Medical Care at Your Destination

Ask your doctor to recommend a healthcare provider or hospital when travelling to an unfamiliar location so that you know whom to contact when you need medical assistance. Make sure you have the correct phone number and address of the medical facility and doctor and store the details in your medical file. In case your doctor cannot recommend a healthcare provider, you can ask your insurance company for a couple of recommendations.

Stretching Your Calf Muscles

When you’re travelling by train, plane, or automobile, you have to sit for prolonged periods. It can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, especially when you’re over 60 years old, overweight, and a smoker.

It is best to try getting up at least once every walk to stretch your calf muscles. If you cannot walk, try standing on your toes in your aisle. If you experience anxiety while flying, practising breathing exercises for COPD can help. In case you’re travelling by car, make it a point to stop at gas stations, cafes, or restrooms to walk and stretch.

Taking Your Vaccination Shots

When it comes to international travel, it’s mandatory to get the vaccinations specified by the country. If you’re not going abroad, it’s still a better idea to get a flu shot to keep yourself safe from passengers who might be sick on the aeroplane or train. Additionally, carry a bottle of sanitiser and wash your hands regularly to keep the germs away.

Wrapping Up

The key to staying healthy is to apply everything you’ve learned from your cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program. When you travel, you often neglect the fact that you need to take care of yourself.

Therefore, you must consume nutritious food, get enough rest, and exercise regularly to lessen fatigue, decrease jet lag, and boost your energy levels. By keeping these three aspects in mind, you can even turn a stressful trip into a relatively pleasurable one.