As the traveling season in the northern hemisphere starts to peak I though it of value that we preppers prepare should we be traveling with family and friends who might have had heart issues.
Travelling around the world is not forbidden for heart patients. Most people with heart-illnesses travel to different places, provided that their heart condition is stable and in control. If you are also a heart patient, or any of your family members have cardiovascular diseases, and you wish to go on a family vacation, just remember to consult your or their doctor. More importantly, if you are feeling well and your reports have not been alarming, then you probably are good to go. As such, being preppers, if you are planning to go on a much-anticipated trip, then here are some practical guidelines for you and yours.
When Planning Your Holiday, You Should Probably Think About the Following:
- Stay at an accommodation which is easier to reach and closer to health facilities
- Make sure to compare health insurance policies and choose one clubbed with an additional coverage for pre-existing medical conditions
- Go to destinations where a lot of walking is not required. Avoid going to hilly areas where you might need to trek a lot. Without a doubt, any strenuous activity should be evaded. You should play it safe until your doctor gives you the go-ahead to do such activities
- Keep a list of the medications, as well as, the doctor’s prescription handy. You should carry it with you all the time. In case of an emergency, you can always refer to it
- Carry enough medications with you so that you do not run out of them during your trip
- Carry a letter of explanation from your healthcare provider regarding your heart-condition, especially when going abroad or when travelling by airplane. This letter should mention the drugs that you are on and any allergies that you may have. If you have a pacemaker or any other medical device fitted in your body, then that should also be highlighted in this document.
It is Better Not Travel To Extremely Hot or Cold Climates
Restrict yourself from going to countries that have extreme temperatures. It’s recommended not to go to places that are either very hot or extremely cold. You should choose from places that have a moderate climate.
Avoid Travelling To High Altitudes
If you are a heart patient, and you want to travel to a place at an altitude of more than 6,500′ (2,000m) above the sea level, then you should reconsider your decision. At higher altitudes, the level (concentration), of oxygen is lower. Less oxygen can lead to uneasiness and can even ruin your entire trip. It can also impose serious health risks, headaches, breathlessness or/ and even angina. Before planning your trip to a destination at a high altitude, see and follow the advice of your healthcare provider.
You can Avoid Stress of Commuting during Your Trip
For people with heart conditions, the commute itself can be one of the most stressful parts of the journey. To make the journey convenient throughout your trip, you should-
- Take the planned route and manage your time to avoid rushing yourself unnecessarily
- Carry bags and suitcases that are light in weight and are on wheels to make the transportation hassle-free
It Is OK For You to Travel by Air!
People with a heart condition, or any circulatory disease, can safely travel by airplane without risking their health. However, if you have been diagnosed with heart disease recently, have undergone open-heart surgery, or have been hospitalized due to your heart condition lately, then, it is again advisable that you check with your healthcare provider to see if you are fit to travel by a airplane. Note the advice above as to not going to places that are above 6,500 feet in elevation, well, commercial airliners, which travel typically between 18,000′ and 29,000′ are pressurized to 8,000′. Yep, talk to your doctor.
If you’re given the go-ahead by your health specialist to travel by plane and you think that you might need assistance during the flight or at the airport terminal, then you should probably inform the airport authorities or airline at the time of booking the tickets. You can get assistance with your luggage, can take wheelchair support, or you can even board the plane early.
If you have medications in your hand luggage that are in the form of gels, liquids or creams (over 100ml), then you will need to provide a letter from your heart-specialist. Based on that, you can seek approval from the airline before you travel.
If you are going to fly through times zones, the routine of medications can get disturbed. It is best to take advice from your healthcare provider to deal with it in an effective manner.
Safety Aspects against Airport Security Systems
If you have a Pacemaker or an ICD fitted in your body, it’s imperative that you carry your device identification card. Also, inform the airport staff about your heart-condition, mentioning that you have a device inserted inside your body. While passing through the security system, keep walking at a normal pace and do not linger for it might mess with the device.
Make sure that a hand-held metal detector is not used/placed directly over your device. Mostly, modern pacemakers and ICDs are properly shielded against any outside interference. At the most, the metal casing might just trigger the security alarm. But, it is always better to be cautious.
Combating the Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) On a Long-Haul Flight
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a condition in which the blood gets clotted in a deep vein, such as in the legs. Prolonged sitting when travelling on a long flight or a long-haul flight can sometimes impose the risk of developing DVT. For many people, chances of developing DVT are quite low, but if you are a heart patient and do not want to face any trouble, try to wear comfortable clothes and socks to keep your blood circulation unimpeded. You can use travel compression socks as they can help keep your blood flow normal and can curb the clotting of blood. Also, check with your health insurance provider if they cover Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) under the insurance plan. If not, then you can always get it added to your current health plan.
For Reducing The Risk Of DVT You Can:
- Change your position frequently to stay active. You can also walk wherever it is possible
- Do simple exercises like stretching your ankles and feet while sitting on the seat during the flight
- Seriously, restrain yourself from drinking alcohol and too much caffeine during the flight
- Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated; more than normal because airline cabin humidity often competes with that of Death Valley.
Anyone who has experienced DVT recently, or has undergone surgery lately, is probably at a higher risk during a flight. Again and we can’t say this enough, before travelling anywhere, consult with your doctor. If you have been advised to wear support stockings during the flight, make sure that you are wearing the right size as per your leg and calf measurements. If you are at a higher risk, your doctor might suggest giving you heparin injection. This will prevent any blood clots for some time.
Conclusion – Having a certain health condition should not stop you from travelling around the world. By taking certain precautions and preventive measures, you can always make it happen. We hope that the above-mentioned tips prove helpful for you and your family members.
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