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How To Prepare For Travel After A Diagnosis

Medical Issues To Consider When You Travel

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You stand a much better chance of remaining healthy throughout your trip if you leave home healthy.

  • A visit with your doctor a month or so before you leave is a wise investment of your time.
  • In addition to getting a check-up, be sure to discuss any allergies you have and get prescriptions to treat them in case they act up while you?re traveling. Also consider a tetanus booster shot (You should normally get one every ten years.)

Put together a list of all your medical providers with name, telephone number, street address and e mail address. (Include each doctor's mobile phone if you have it). Include in the list what the doctor's specialty is and the circumstances in which to call that particular doctor. Keep a copy of the list with your ticket/passport. Keep another copy on you at all times during your travel.

Speak with your doctor:

  • Ask for the names of doctors or health care facilities to contact at your various destinations.
  • If you are going to change time zones, ask:
    • How to adjust your medication schedule when the local time changes.
    • For advice on dealing with jet lag. (For more resources for information about jet lag, see Minimizing Jet Lag)
  • What to do if you get common travel symptoms such as diarrhea. Some experienced travelers recommend taking a three day dose of oflaxcin (Floxin) (for which you need a prescrption) plus two tablets of Imodium AD along with the first dose of oflaxcin. What does your doctor recommend?
  • For a copy of each of the following which could prove vital during your trip: (If you are traveling to a country which speaks a different language, it would be ideal to have your records translated into that language if possible.)
    • A summary of medical records to be carried with your wallet or passport. 
    • A written update of your condition.
    • A comprehensive list of medications (prescriptions and over-the-counter) and dietary supplements that you take. Include dosages. If you are crossing time zones, recalculate medicine schedule with your doctor to accommodate changes.
    • A list of your allergies.
    • A list of drugs that may cause adverse reactions to your medicine.
    • A record of your blood type.
    • A copy of your eyeglass or contact lens prescription (as well as a spare pair of glasses or contacts).
    • A letter which explains why you carry needles and syringes (if applicable). The letter doesn't have to give details about your condition, only that they are medically necessary to administer your medication.
    • A list of doctors, hospitals, and facilities that specialize in your condition in each of the areas you will visit. A Letter of Introduction from your doctor (addressed "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Doctor") may help get services you need.
  • If you need oxygen during your travel, ask how to arrange it. Oxygen is readily available throughout the United States. Information on the availability of oxygen is available through:
    • The American Lung Association offsite link, Tel.: 212 315 8700
    • The American Thoracic Society offsite link, Tel.: 212 315 8700
    • The American Association for Respiratory Care offsite link, Tel.: 972 243 2272

If you keep track of pain levels or other symptoms in your Symptoms Diary, print a blank page and photocopy it for each day of your trip so you can continue to track symptoms while traveling.

If the water is not safe where you are going, consider purchasing a product you can easily take with you, such as a SteiPEN Traveler, a compact water purifier. You can learn about this product at offsite link, Tel.: 888.783.7473.

Consider obtaining an identification bracelet or necklace that lists detailed medical information about your illness. See offsite link

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