The ways you can best travel as an Arthritis sufferer
Your bags are packed and your flights are booked. And you have a list of places to visit. However, as Arthritis sufferer, are you fully prepared enough to deal with your arthritis whilst away on holiday?
1. Find the U.K. embassy
Knowing the location of your UK Embassy or Consulate can be very helpful when travelling abroad. If you have a medical emergency of any kind, embassy/consulate staff can help direct you to the best possible medical care. Knowing the embassy’s location and contact information such as telephone number is therefore a smart step for any traveller. But for people with chronic conditions, it’s absolutely essential.
2. Create a list of all your medications
Customs officials may possibly become questioning of your situation should they find needles in your luggage, but a GPs note explaining your medical condition and why you have the needles may help you.
If you take multiple medications, this is especially important. Make a list of all your medications and their dosages, and always keep this in a safe place separate from where you keep your medications. So you do not lose it.
Include your GP’s contact information on this list, also. As most GP’s are happy to provide this type of information. As this way, should you lose any crucial medication and need a refill, a pharmacy can contact your GP to confirm your need is necessary, essential and valid.
3. Always keep your medication with you
Keep your medications in a carry-on bag rather than in a checked-in luggage bag. You do not want to risk a flare-up because your airline has lost your luggage — which can happen. Personally, I carry all my medications in my rucksack when travelling.
4. Pay attention to any specific drug instructions
Are you injecting any drugs for rheumatoid arthritis? Some of these require refrigeration. Check with the drug company for specific instructions, or on the medication instructions for more information. But usually most say you can keep your drugs at room temperature for about 1 day. For longer flights, you might need a special cooler to keep your medication in.
Also, ask for a GP’s note explaining your medical needs.
5. Plan for different time zones
Flight jet lag won’t be your only concern. For drugs such as prednisone, it’s important not to miss a dose. If you’re flying somewhere that has a big time difference, please ensure you take the medication as if you would at home during the flight. When you arrive at your destination, modify your schedule slowly rather than immediately changing it to the new time zone straight away. As if you miss a dose, you are at risk of a bad reaction.
6. Ask about your accommodation
When you are abroad, your accommodation options might be more limited. However, you can still plan ahead by calling hotels or visiting the hotel/travel websites for information and customer reviews. Ask for bed boards to firm up soft mattresses to help prevent back pain. Avoid bathrooms with footed tubs, which are beautiful but hard to manage for some people with arthritis. And if you have difficulty climbing stairs, make sure your hotel has a lift or stairlift.
7. Be prepared for anything
Be prepared and ready to deal with any medical issue or emergency. Ask your GP for a list of rheumatologists where you are traveling. Or try and find these online via charities etc. For any serious concerns you may have, it is essential that you buy travel health insurance in case of emergency, especially in a place very far from your home.
8. Don’t just sit there
If you are driving long distances, always ensure you get out and about and walk every 1-2 hours. If you’re travelling on a plane, train or coach, get out of your seat to walk the aisles and stretch for a short while.
This simple, easy to follow advice if used properly helps to prevent blood clots. But it is especially important for preventing stiffness for people with arthritis. Staying crammed up in a small space for any long period of time will only ensure you end up sore.