Planning a vacation often brings feelings of excitement and anticipation – the prospect of warm sunshine, relaxing downtime, culinary delights, and intriguing explorations. But could anyone desire anything more?
Unfortunately, for those living with chronic illnesses such as asthma, the thrill of impending travel can be diluted by anxiety, stress, and a sense of uncertainty, particularly when venturing outside of familiar surroundings. A myriad of “what-if” scenarios can quickly become overwhelming, potentially discouraging some individuals from travelling altogether.
Formulating a Plan
During a recent travel plan, an individual living with severe asthma took an important step. They jotted down every question that came to mind:
- What if they fall ill while on vacation?
- What happens if their flight is delayed, delaying their home return?
- What if their luggage goes missing?
- What if they require medical attention?
- What if a hospital admission becomes necessary?
Addressing these concerns one by one, they constructed a comprehensive travel strategy. Here are the pivotal elements:
1. Ensuring Adequate Medication
First and foremost, they ensured that they had all necessary medicines, including standard and emergency drugs. They also packed additional supplies to account for unforeseen situations, such as misplaced medication or an unexpectedly extended trip. A letter from their doctor and a repeat prescription were also packed for extra assurance.
Despite potential security scrutiny, they always carried their medication in their hand luggage. It was a matter of being over-prepared rather than facing the risk of falling ill due to insufficient medication.
2. Identifying Nearby Healthcare Facilities
Depending on the destination, they took the initiative to research the locations of nearby pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals relative to their accommodation. This knowledge provided a sense of security, should they need medical assistance.
If their travels took them to a non-English-speaking country, they carried cards with personal details, allergies, and a brief summary of their condition, all translated into the local language. This approach can circumvent potential language barriers more effectively than relying on translation apps.
3. Protecting Against Infections
As their health and medication regimen left them immunosuppressed, they faced increased susceptibility to infections in public spaces and on public transportation. To mitigate this risk, several precautions were taken:
- They used hand sanitiser regularly.
- They carried a disinfectant spray for surfaces such as seats, tables, and seatbelts.
- They wore a protective mask with a carbon filter, offering some level of protection by reducing risk.
These measures evolved over time through trial and error, ultimately enhancing their travel experiences. While thorough planning and vigilance are crucial when travelling with a chronic condition, it should not overshadow the enjoyment of a well-deserved vacation. After all, isn’t relaxation and pleasure the essence of a holiday?