|Sickle Cell Warrior Jolethea Downs, a DSU Alumnae (Black)|
Vacationing is a rewarding and enjoyable time for many. But for those who have chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, etc., planning ahead to help facilitate a safe and enjoyable trip is required. Travel on an international or overseas trip requires even more planning. At least 2-4 weeks prior to your vacation, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. Communication is important when meeting with your doctors regarding your travel details and length of stay. This will ensure that you are provided with enough medication, especially if you are staying longer than 30 days, because insurance companies may only pay for a 1 month supply. Also, you may not want to buy medications in other countries because the prescription may not be available, may be counterfeit; or it just may not meet U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.
Medication and medial equipment should be packed in your carry-on luggage in original prescription bottles with your name on it. This is helpful because you do not want to be without your medication/supplies if for any reason your luggage gets misplaced or delayed. Also, there may be a time difference from your local area, so you may want to take medication based on last dose, not according to time zone of country or the state to which you are traveling. Time zones may be confusing, so asking your doctor regarding scheduled doses when entering different time zones is advisable. The CDC website has a list of travel medicine specialists to visit in your local area for required shots/vaccines. These specialists provide vaccination and trip-specific medicines that your regular doctor may be unable to provide. Traveling with a chronic illness may be frustrating due to the extra time needed to plan, but the extra preparation will best ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip. For more information, visit the CDC for more details on the country you are traveling to, www.cdc.gov and www.tovacommunity.org/blog/travel for more tips on traveling with a chronic medical condition.
Taihitia Watson-Wilmer, Nurse Coordinator
TOVA Community Health
Primary Specialty Care