Pretty much every person likes to travel, experience new cultures, go through new life experiences, or just go to a quiet place for relaxation. For many PH patients, travel is simply a part of their lives either for professional or personal reasons. Having PH is no reason to think that your traveling days are over and done. Here’s a list of tips you should consider while flying with PH. Please make sure you plan everything carefully, so you don’t miss your fun while abroad.
- Before flying, obtain a letter from your doctor describing the specific medical requirements of PH. This will simplify the process of obtaining oxygen and getting medicine through security checkpoints.
- Air travel can result in a decrease in the blood oxygen level. Therefore, all PAH patients planning air travel or travel to high altitude locations should discuss the possible need for oxygen with their PH specialist — even if they do not require supplemental oxygen at home.
- Obtain the name of a physician familiar with PH at your travel destination who you can contact in case of emergency.
- While traveling, all PAH patients should stand up and walk a short distance at least every two hours.
- Plan to take extra medicines and supplies in case of delays.
- Flolan patients should always travel with a small ice chest with six to eight packs and a premixed dose of epoprostenol. Patients treated with epoprostenol or treprostinil (Remodulin) should always travel with an extra pump.
- All medications should be kept in their prescription bottles. Travelers should keep their supplies in carry-on luggage rather than in checked baggage that could become lost or misplaced.
- PH patients traveling with pumps or oxygen can call the TSA Cares Help Line 72 hours in advance of their flight to make sure that local TSA agents are informed about any special circumstances needed for going through security.
- Reserve your seat and print out your boarding pass in advance, if possible. This helps maximize your chance of getting a seat with good leg room and eases the stress of check-in. Be sure to check in well ahead of time.
- Don’t underestimate the strain of travel. Go easy on yourself, plan plenty of time for layovers, and allow trusted travel companions to do as much as possible for you such as carrying bags, pushing your wheelchair, or arranging gate-to-gate transportation.
Source: PHA – Pulmonary Hypertension Association (http://bit.ly/1MThnMB)
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