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June 26, 2014 by Andrea

By Mjuzikxhankej (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mjuzikxhankej (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Staycations (at home vacation) can be nice, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery -- an escape, an honest-to-god vacation. Living with sickle cell, however, can cause some to have travel anxiety: What if a crisis happens? Is it safe to fly long distances with SCD? What should I pack? Put your worries aside, read up on these tips, and prepare to make room for some much-needed fun and relaxation.

Whether you're planning a trip overseas or just a few states over, it's important to understand the effects that airplane travel can have on those with sickle cell, so you can prevent any complications before they arise. First, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your upcoming travel and determine if you'll need any special care in terms of oxygen supplementation (airplane cabins are pressurized, but there's still lower oxygen levels at high altitudes). While in flight, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and, once the seat belt signs are turned off, periodically stand up and move around to stretch your legs. The same goes for long road trips or train trips. Take plenty of breaks to get out, stretch your legs, and keep your circulation going. Breaking up a long trip over several days is a great idea.

Once you've locked down your destination(s), your method of travel, and your vacation buddies, you can start packing for the trip. Of course, you'll need to pack clothing and toiletries, but you should also get any necessary medications ready ahead of time and load up the car (or your carry-on) with a few snacks, so you don't take your medication on an empty stomach. In addition to your medications, traveling with your medical history is also important, just as a precaution. Make sure your medical history includes the name and contact information of your doctor, a list of all of your medications and any allergies to medications you may have, your shot record, any test results, and general information on sickle cell disease. Refer to this checklist for even more ideas.

Most importantly, use your vacation time to de-stress and enjoy yourself. A positive outlook, paired with plenty of rest and relaxation can do wonders for your health, too! What are your summer travel plans? Share your travel tips in the comments below!



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