Preparing to travel
It is important to prepare well before travelling if you or your child has pulmonary hypertension (PH).
If you are planning a holiday, the first thing to consider is the destination. Here are some things that you should bear in mind:
- Will it be easy to get to your hotel or room? Ask if there are many flights of stairs.
- Will the journey involve long periods of time in a car, train, plane or coach? This may be difficult if you need oxygen therapy.
- How hot will it be? Extreme heat can make you feel tired and breathless.
- How near are you to a hospital, should you need emergency treatment?
Your travel agent should be able to answer these questions before you book.
If you have your treatment delivered to you, remember to order enough in advance. If you are away for a long time, you will need to take this into account. Contact your supplier or your PH specialist team to organise this.
For some PH treatments such as prostaglandins, special equipment is required to administer the drug (eg needles and pumps). If you are planning to fly, you will need to get a letter from your GP or specialist centre saying that you need to take this equipment with you on the plane. This will help you get through customs. You may also need a ‘fit-to-fly’ letter to confirm that you are well enough to travel by air. You should ensure that you ask your GP or PH specialist for these well in advance of travelling. Otherwise you might not be able to go on holiday.
If you are travelling with others, it is a good idea to distribute your supplies of medication into more than one hold bag, and to keep some with you in your hand luggage. This is because hold bags can sometimes get lost, so this avoids you being without medication when you land.
Make a checklist
It can help to make a checklist so you don’t forget anything. There is an example checklist in the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK) booklet Travel: Practical advice on travelling with pulmonary hypertension. This is contained in the members’ pack given to all PHA UK members. Joining the PHA UK is free.
If you want to make your own checklist, it’s handy to break the list down into sections such as important documents; things relating to medication; clothes, toiletries, things for the flight.