You don’t have to give up travelling for business, taking vacations, or visiting friends and family just because you have Alpha-1. The key to successful travel can be taken from the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared!
Here are some tips to keep you safe and having fun!
- Discuss your travel plans with your physician to ensure you are well enough to travel. To be well-prepared for any special requirements you may have during your travels, talk about your planned length of stay, your mode of travel, and the expected climate and environmental conditions of your final destination.
- Make a folder for your travel documents and your health-related documents. You may find it useful to obtain a letter from your doctor stating you are fit for travel that includes a brief summary of your present condition and a list of your medications. Keep these documents with you so they are readily accessible at any point during your travels.
- Identify a medical facility and a physician who can care for you at your destination, especially if you plan on an extended stay. Your primary care physician or AlphaNet Coordinator should be able to help you establish this.
- Keep a listing of all necessary contact information and phone numbers, including your physician, emergency family contact, the airline or cruise line with which you will be travelling and a contact person at your final destination.
- Have all routine medications refilled and make sure to bring adequate amounts for the entire length of your trip. When travelling by plane, keep a supply of your medication readily available in your carry-on luggage. All should be appropriately labelled and kept in their original containers.
- To limit the risk of infection while travelling, take along a supply of antibacterial wipes, sprays or other products to clean surfaces with which you will necessarily come in contact. Items such as seatbelts and tray tables can be a source of bacteria. Remember, however, that your best protection against infection is to wash your hands. If clean water is unavailable using the antibacterial products is the best way to guard against infection.
- Prior to travelling, it is a good idea to review your health insurance policy. Some insurance policies may not cover you while you are out of state or out of the country. You may wish to talk with your insurance company and obtain a temporary policy, if necessary. A travel agent may be able to assist you with this, as well.
- If you are travelling with a companion, make sure he or she is also familiar with your special needs, such as understanding your medication requirements and instructions for handling oxygen equipment.