Turning your travel dreams into reality can involve a lot of preparation at the best of times. If you factor in an autoimmune disease, such as lupus, the added concerns travel can pose often prove overwhelming. However, with the right forethought, it is perfectly possible for those with lupus to realise their wanderlust and head off on that holiday of a lifetime. We’ve put together a brief guide to travelling with lupus, to help make your trip a success.
What is lupus?
Lupus is a condition that has only recently come into the spotlight, a condition in which the immune system releases far too many antibodies into the bloodstream, causing inflammatory reactions in various parts of the body. This can manifest in a variety of symptoms including joint and muscle pain, extreme tiredness, rashes, anaemia and even depression. It can mildly affect some people whilst in others it can prove life-threatening; however, even in mild cases, it can seriously put a dampener on your travel plans.
As reported by Lupus UK, there is still much that medical professionals hope to learn about lupus – it is neither easy to diagnose nor particularly well understood. But with certain celebrities such as Lady Gaga helping to spread the word about the disease, the profile of lupus is beginning to be raised and people are finding new ways to manage their lupus positively and lessen the chance of flare-ups.
Make a plan
As with any chronic condition, the key to a comfortable travelling experience lies in the preparation. Carefully consider what sort of holiday would be the most suitable for you. How do you feel on a ‘good’ day? What sort of activities would you want to partake in? Then think about how you could feel on a ‘not so good’ day and what you might need, to ensure you are comfortable.
As fatigue is a common symptom of lupus, try to prioritise demanding activities so that you don’t overload your schedule, and always have a Plan B in place so that, should you have a flare up, you can replace active pursuits with something more relaxing. In this way, you will have plenty of options for both your high energy and low energy days.
It’s also an excellent idea to give yourself plenty of time to pack and make travel arrangements. Creating a checklist will help you stay organised and ensure you don’t descend into last minute stress – never the best way to start a relaxing holiday.
Be sure your carry-on travel bag contains any medication you might need as well as a doctor’s note and the original packaging and prescription if you are travelling abroad – it’s always better to have too much paperwork than too little. Painkillers, snacks, layers and plenty of drinking water should always be carried along with you.
Finally, an advisable move to give yourself peace of mind, is to check out the closest medical centres in your destination of choice so that you know where to go if you really need help. Write down the relevant phone numbers and addresses as well as working out how you would get there if you were in a lot of pain. If you are prepared and have had a good chat with your GP before you travel, it’s unlikely you will need medical treatment abroad. However, it will allow you to feel more relaxed knowing you have an action plan in case of emergency.
Be good to yourself
Stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, take breaks on a long journey or busy day and eat plenty of healthy food to keep your body fuelled. It’s all too easy to believe you’re invincible when on holiday, so try to listen to your body and heed any warning signs it might be giving. Travelling with lupus doesn’t have to prevent you having fun, it just means you need to pay attention to yourself in order to reap the benefits.
If you find yourself needing medical treatment abroad or some other mishap occurs, such as a misplaced suitcase, the right medical travel insurance policy can save you from too much financial fallout. Medical Travel Compared offers lupus travel insurance designed to give you the peace of mind you deserve on your trip.