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  • Jessica Frizzell, PA-C

How to Make the Most of a Vacation When You Have a Rheumatic Disease



You’ve carefully planned your itinerary. You’ve made reservations. You’ve booked your travel accommodations. Now, it’s time to enjoy your trip!


Trips are meant to be a carefree getaway from the everyday stresses of life. When you have an autoimmune disease, the last thing you want to deal with is a flare-up while vacationing. If that inflammation kicks in, your trip will no doubt be drastically affected.


It is important to strategically prepare beforehand when you leave home for any extended period of time. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of a successful trip.


What steps can you take to make your vacation the best possible experience? Here are a few suggestions:


Manage Your Medications


Before the fun begins, double check that you packed all your medications and supplements. You do not want to interrupt your medication schedule due to forgetting any prescriptions. Some people prefer to use a pill organizer, while others like to bring the entire prescription bottle. Don’t forget an insulated cooler and ice packs if you need to keep certain medications chilled.


If you are traveling by airplane, keep those medications with you at all times by bringing a carry-on bag. Checked luggage can get lost, so you do not want to risk losing your prescriptions and being forced to go without your medications. Also, bring official medical documents to prove your medications are needed, just in case there is any trouble getting through airport security.


Plan for the drive or flight


No matter how you anticipate getting to your destination, take care of your body along the ride. Bring whatever accessories you personally find helpful to support your neck, back, legs, and joints. Perhaps you know a neck pillow is an absolute must, or maybe you need lumbar support. The goal is to take the necessary measures to not create pain or discomfort before your trip even begins.


What else might you need to remain comfortable? Hand warmers? Compression socks? Compression gloves? A coat? A blanket? Think of what makes you feel your best, and pack accordingly.


Invest in luggage that makes your travel easier


Luggage is bulky and heavy. Spare the wear and tear on your body by purchasing a four-wheeled suitcase that can turn 360 degrees. Put an end to those days of big duffle bags over your shoulder. Ouch!


When it comes to opening your luggage, use zipper pull ties. Grasping a tiny, pesky zipper requires finger strength and dexterity. A zipper pull tie is a device that allows you to grab and pull a zipper using your arm muscles rather than your fingers alone.


Be prepared


By following these travel tricks and tips, you set yourself up for a positive outcome. Take precautions to protect your body, and make your health a priority.


Here at Paducah Rheumatology, our goal is to help you live a fulfilling life. We want to see you enjoy vacations through proper management of your rheumatic disease. Give us a call at 270-408-6100 today to discuss how we can support you!


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