Travelling tips by a Transplant Doctor to a Transplant Recipient

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 Travelling tips by a Transplant Doctor
to a Transplant Recipient

 Prof. Mansoor Ahmed Shah (Nephrologist)

For many patients who have had a kidney transplant, the ability to travel is important to their self-esteem and lifestyle. Working patients may need to attend business meetings or conferences. Older patients may have dreamed of traveling during their retirement. A family event such as a wedding, graduation or family reunion may require travel away from home. At times, emergencies such as illness or a death in the family may require travel.Having a transplant shouldn’t keep anyone from traveling; it just requires a little extra planning. By making travel arrangements in advance, you will be able to travel throughout the World. Once after kidney Transplant it’s even easier to travel.

Before you travel talk to your transplant physician about your travel plans and enquire if any vaccinations are needed. Live vaccines are to be avoided. Take copies of your prescriptions make an appointment with your doctor on your return if the travel was of more than a month’s duration to make sure everything is fine. Going for vacation, make medical travel kit which should include thermometer, scissor, bandages, tape, antiseptic cream, few gauzes and medicines for pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Take a greater supply of your medications than you think you will need. There may be transportation delays, missed flights, or just the desire to enjoy some more holiday, trips sometimes last longer than you originally planned. Avoid running out of your medicines by taking at least a week’s extra supply. And don’t guess when it comes to quantity–count pills out before you go!

Keep medicines in their original packing, bottles or blister strips. You may be tempted to transfer your medicines to smaller travel containers to save space, but keeping them in their original packing can help if you’re questioned by security personnel when you’re going through airport security or by custom officers.

If you are flying, keep your medicines with you on the plane. If your checked luggage is delayed or lost, you risk losing your medicines and not taking them on time as prescribed. Timing can be critical with immunosuppressive drugs and depending on your medication schedule, you may have to take your medicines during the flight. Keep medications away from direct heat, cold or sunlight.

Don’t let a change in time zones throw you off schedule. During travel you may have 2-3 hour leeway in taking daily medicines. Check with your transplant physician if you have a 2-3 hour window and are traveling to a destination in a time zone within 2–3 hours of your home, you can ignore the time change and take your medications at the same clock time as you would have at home. In other words, if you take your medications at 7 am and 7 pm like me, you can stay on a 7 am and 7 pm local time schedule if you travel up to 3 time zones away. If you travel across more time zones, you may need to adjust your schedule to the local time.

Keep a list of all your medications – and dosages – with you in your wallet or purse. Include on the list your doctor’s name and phone number. Cut out the labels of your medicines and them with you as they will also have medicines generic names on them.

Avoid sun exposure. Transplant medications can make the skin more sensitive to sun exposure and, for many, more susceptible to skin cancer. Since vacations often take you to sunny locations, pack and use proper sun protection in the form hats, sunscreen, long sleeve t-shirts, etc. Use common sense by limiting your outdoor activities during the hours of greatest sun exposure, usually 10 am to 4 pm. Plan an indoor activity during those hours, such as taking a siesta or visiting a museum.

Try the local specialties, but eat wisely. Minimize your chances of getting diarrhea by avoiding uncooked foods, except for peeled fruits and vegetables. Take an anti-diarrhea medicine along with you, just in case. If you have dietary restrictions and are traveling by plane, reach out to your airline carrier in advance to see if they can accommodate your diet. Otherwise, plan ahead and bring snacks that you know are safe for your body.

Don’t drink the water. Or at a minimum, be extremely cautious about it. People who are immuno suppressed catch diseases more easily than others. Ask the locals if the tap water is safe to drink. Obey signs warning you that the water is not for drinking. When in doubt drink bottled water.

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