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01-08-2012, 08:23 AM   #1
ekuskrash
 
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Traveling with Crohn's

Hello everyone. I'm new to the forum and one of the matters that worries me the most in this new phase of my life, is the fact that I want (almost need) to travel 15 days after my diagnose.

I will be going to Chile for a month. I still don't know what might flare me up or not. I've been diagnosed yesterday, started today with Mesalazine 3g.


So I would like your input about traveling with Chrons:
  • Medication you take with you;
  • Extra attention in the food;
  • Ideas for needed be, going to a rest room;
  • Any other tip you find usefull.

I will be updating the thread as to make a "guide" for people who also want to travel but are a bit confused due to the CD situation.

MEDICATION
  • More than enough supply of your prescribed medicine;
  • Pain Killers (either Paracetamol or Opiates, whatever works for you);
  • Anti Emetics and Laxatives;
  • Re-hydration salts.

GENERAL ADVICE
FOOD
  • Avoid raw vegetables;
  • Eat plain food (meat, rice, potatoes, etc.);
  • Stick to bottled water, if there is none available try to boil it before drinking;
ON THE PLANE
  • Try and book a seat near the gallows so that you may go to the rest room without bothering other customers;
  • Speak with a flight attendant about your condition so that they are more lenient with you with bathroom trips;
  • Keep a change of clothes with you and a bag just in case;
  • Try to exercise as much as possible during long flights - Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis
ON THE VISITED COUNTRY
  • If there is a language barrier try to take some of your medical records. It will be easier for the doctor to identify the issue with them.

ATTENTION

If it's possible try to get a Travel Insurance. Just in case. Even though Crohn's is manageable by ourselves with dietary care, you never know the conditions you will be in or if something unexpected might show up.
You don't loose much in case it wasn't needed and you win a lot from having one, be there need for it.

CONTRIBUTORS
Rebecca85
pasobuff
Nerple

Last edited by ekuskrash; 01-15-2012 at 02:51 PM.
01-08-2012, 08:48 AM   #2
Rebecca85
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I went to the Dominican Republic a few months after my diagnosis. Have fun and try not to worry too much!

Medication: 2 lots of all prescribed medications (one in hand luggage, one in suitcase)
Also Painkillers (paracetamol is safest, also opiates if you have a lot if pain) anti diarrhoea, laxatives, rehydration salts.

Food: avoid raw vegetables and fruits (except bananas are good so long as you peel them yourself) and try to stick to plain meat, potatoes etc. make sure food is thoroughly cooked and either piping hot, or properly chilled. If eating off a buffet try to grab food that has just been put out. Only use bottled water, even for brushing your teeth.

On the plane, speak to the stewardess and explain your situation, they may be a bit more lenient with you with bathroom trips. Make sure you exercise and stretch your legs (CD increases chances of thrombosis).

Also I always suffer with my stomach on planes because of the pressure change, I carry spare clothes, bags and sanitary pads (to put in my undies if needed) on the plane just in case!

If you don't have travel insurance, it is strongly recommended that you buy some and declare your CD (if you have already got insurance, check the small print very carefully!)

If there is likely to be a language barrier, you can search online for translation guides in case you need medical help while abroad.
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01-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #3
Lisa
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Def. take extra medication - and make sure it is in the appropriate, marked bottles!....

Have at least a couple days worth on you for the flight, also change or two of clothes. Agree on the bottled water, and food that are cooked etc.....

Also, check with your insurance company ahead of time to make sure you are covered for any medical expenses while abroad - also check out the Embassy for your country there (if there is one) - find out what hospital/doctor is recommended in case you do fall ill.....
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01-08-2012, 12:38 PM   #4
ekuskrash
 
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Thanks for your input, added it to the Main Post
01-08-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
braveheart
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I can only say you can consider hiring a traveler medical insurance (such as assist card) just for the time you are being abroad. I don't think you will really need it, but it would make you feel safer.

I strongly recommend moving to the other side of the Andes to visit Argentina, which rocks!
01-08-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
ekuskrash
 
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I strongly recommend moving to the other side of the Andes to visit Argentina, which rocks!
You are not biased or anything on that matter :P
Not this time, but might spend some time there in the future. Would love to go to buenos aires some day!
Un saludo
01-09-2012, 05:14 AM   #7
braveheart
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Have a nice trip amigo
01-15-2012, 01:38 PM   #8
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I travel about 75% of the time for my job and I've found no major problems with trvaellign with crohn's.

I agree with making sure to bring your medication on board with you. I also include a few over the counter medications I don't usually take just in case I am having a bad day such as pepto, immodium, nyquil and dayquil.

I also agree with grabbing an aisle seat, especially for flights over 2 hours. It's just easier to get up to go to the bathroom, go to the galley for a drink, or just move around. This is especially true if you are on a redeye flight, because it sucks being in a window seat when the 2 people in your row are asleep and you really want to get up. I can't sleep on planes, so when I'm on long redeye flights like transatlantics I like being able tog et up and just stand in the aisle and stretch for 30-45 minutes whenever I so desire. Especially as it bothers noone because 80% of the passengers are sleeping.

If you're traveling to an area where you don't know the local language, bring along a copy of your medical records. Should you encounter a language gap, it'd be alot easier for the doctor's to read that than understand you.

And keep a copy of your hotel info with you. In Germany I had an obstruction and needed to go to the ER and was subsequently admitted, and needed to contact the hotel to ensure a co-worker could get into my room and take the valuables for safeguarding.
01-15-2012, 01:58 PM   #9
Lorimichelle85
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I know exactly your worries. I will being going with my husband to his home country of El Salvador for a month and I need to be prepared... The problem is the country is so much more poor and some bathrooms are just concrete slabs on a concrete pot and they dont flush.. But I am not going to let this disease stop me to going to see my baby girls heritage... I will take all my meds and he guarantees if I need any meds or anything they are so much cheaper there!!! He will just have to translate if I go to the doctor..!!! LOL
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01-15-2012, 02:49 PM   #10
ekuskrash
 
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Nerple| It is my first "big" flight so I'm a bit confused about if I can get up and everything. I probably won't be able to sleep as I can't do it unless I'm stretched.
I've got already all the meds I think I should take. Most general ones like Paracetamol and such my GF has them over there.
The records of your problem is also a good idea for when there is a language barrier. Thankfully for me I do speak spanish ^_______________^"

Lori| My problem is the opposite. As far as I'm told, in Chile, health care is expensive. Also I'm now aware that for instance the price of a bottle of water is about the double than in Portugal. I'll have to take that in mind as I will not be drinking water from the tap.

Overall I'm hoping for a good flight and a "0-Crohn Symptom" stay. I hope...
01-15-2012, 02:54 PM   #11
Nerple
 
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Generally if there are calm conditions you can get up and move around anytime but the first 20 minutes of a flight and the last 20 minutes or so. If you hit turbulence in the air, they may force you to stay seated.

And most airlines you can check and change your seats online on their website. seatguru.com is a great site for seeing where you are sitting on a plane and possible problems/benefits of those seats.
01-15-2012, 09:35 PM   #12
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Seatguru.com is a MUST for picking seats on a plane. I bring antibacterial baby wipes and wipe down my seat, head and arm rests and most importantly, the tray table. It is one of the dirtiest places on a plane. Plus, the wipes come in handy for everything from cleaning your hands when soap and water isn't available, to spills on your shirt, and cleaning up in a pinch. ALWAYS carry a small travel package of toilet paper. Some places and countries don't have much LOL.

For long flights, eyeshades, a travel blanket and a fresh pair of socks almost makes it feel like you're in First Class. You can also bring an inflatable pillow (this comes in handy in other situations as well).

I bring a small stash of quick foods I can eat as well. But sometimes this isn't feasible depending on the countries customs laws.

Don't always trust "bottled" water. Some unscrupulous people re-use water bottles, fill them with tap water, and reseal the bottles to look brand new. Look it over before you crack it open.

Before leaving, have your doctor give you a list of meds to take or what to do in any possible "what if" situation. My family doc gave me his cell number to call anytime day or night while I'm out of the country. He's also listed what med to take, dosage etc if I flare. Obviously, bring the meds with you, IN THEIR ORIGINAL BOTTLE, and also bring a copy of the prescription. When I flew to Kuwait, I was required to have all of that to get through customs.

And this isn't Crohn's related but make a copy of your passport and carry it with you. I also have a copy of mine (and my husband's) saved in my email account. So if I needed it, I could hopefully find internet access and retrieve it. You could also email it to a family member so they have it and could get it to you in a pinch. One of my biggest fears is losing my passport.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY...bring your love of life and new experiences. Traveling makes people better human beings, giving them a greater sense of where we all fit in this world. There's always a solution if things take an unfortunate turn healthwise. I don't see the sense in worrying about it beforehand and risk ruining the irreplaceable memories. Planning yes, but worrying, naahhhhh. No fear, you only go around once

I'm currently planning my trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in May. I'm sooooooo excited!
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01-15-2012, 10:37 PM   #13
Susan2
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SNIP, SNIPI'm currently planning my trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in May. I'm sooooooo excited!
Hi ThanksP! I went to Equador and the Galapagos Island in 2010. It was an amazing holiday. I had 10 days on a small boat with EcoVentura - 2 excellent guides to 16 people -and went snorkelling every day with no problems. There wasn't much choice of food on the boat, but I always managed to find something to eat. (I have an ileostomy, by the way, and am in my late 60s.)

I also had time in Quito, with side overnight trips to the Cloud Mountains and to Otavalo and a day trip to Cotapaxi plus 3 days in Buenos Aires on the way home.
01-15-2012, 11:00 PM   #14
ThanksP
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Hi ThanksP! I went to Equador and the Galapagos Island in 2010. It was an amazing holiday. I had 10 days on a small boat with EcoVentura - 2 excellent guides to 16 people -and went snorkelling every day with no problems. There wasn't much choice of food on the boat, but I always managed to find something to eat. (I have an ileostomy, by the way, and am in my late 60s.)

I also had time in Quito, with side overnight trips to the Cloud Mountains and to Otavalo and a day trip to Cotapaxi plus 3 days in Buenos Aires on the way home.
YAY!!! Someone who has been there...and with Crohn/UC too!!! I've hit the lottery LOL. If you don't mind, I might be hitting you up with some questions in the next couple months. Right now I think we are going to do land based and visit some of the islands each day. My husband will be home on R&R from afghanistan so he really wants to relax. But I'm sure once he gets there he will be all too excited. I have a slight fear of water and just snorkeled for the first time last year in Hawaii. It was cool but I think I might have a coronary if a turtle or sea lion swam up along side me. But I WILL snorkel and dangit, I WILL enjoy it, come hell or high water I really wanted to enjoy the mainland of Ecuador to get the real flavor of the country, and even sneak over to Peru. But time won't allow that unfortunately.
01-16-2012, 12:07 AM   #15
carolhew
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ThanksP, I saw a sea tortoise snorkling off the coast of Aruba years back and it was so beautiful. So graceful and serene. Now a sea lion that would freak me out!
01-16-2012, 12:10 AM   #16
Susan2
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No problems, ThanksP, ask away either here or in a private message.

I have Crohns.

You need to get out onto the uninhabited islands to see the blue-footed and red-footed boobies. I snorkelled with giant sea turtles, sea lions, sea iguanas, penguins, small sharks and loads and loads of fish. One day I was lying on my back with two small sea lions nibbling my fins and a large male, whose colony they belonged to, swam over to investigate whether I was a threat to his supremacy. I hastily pulled my feet back under me and backed off, but he just had a look and then went on swimming by, patrolling his beach.
01-16-2012, 12:21 AM   #17
carolhew
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Susan2, it sounds like it was a trip of a lifetime!
01-16-2012, 12:30 AM   #18
Susan2
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SNIP, SNIP So I would like your input about traveling with Chrons:
Imodium (or the like) for diarrhoea - take at the first signs of D, probably earlier than you would take it at home.

If going to less developed countries, I take a dose of antibiotics with me. Make sure that you discuss with your GP or GI which ones are suitable for someone with IBD, some will give you D! Fortunately, I've never had to use them yet.

If you have a stoma, take one or two changes of bag (plus everything that you need) in your hand luggage. I was delayed for three days last year by the volcanic dust and was separated from my luggage.
01-17-2012, 04:44 AM   #19
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I fedex a case of ENSURE to my hotel if I am travelling away from North America. I have found that it is difficult to find a substitute and if you are going to the Dominican or Mexico or Costa Rica or any type of resort where you will spend most of your time on the resort, you can't access it. When I feel I can't eat what's on offer in the menu, I will have my trusty case of ENSURE. Too heavy to pack. Although, if you get a doctor note, most airlines will not charge you the extra baggage for one suitcase loaded with ENSURE.

I also went to a resort for 2 weeks, and i faxed the hotel a "soft diet menu". I simply explained that I recently had surgury (didn't even bother to explain), and that I am eating a post surgical diet while I fully recover-- the Chef's at the resort were fantastic. They introduced themselves to me and I felt quite special actually, and at mealtimes, they were always looking for me to tell me what enticing post-surgical delights they dreamed up for me to eat!

No one in my circle or life knows I have Crohn's...I do not discuss it, EVER. So, I explain these habits away by simply cashing in on so much stuff you read about "local" veggies, "local" water, etc., saying that i DO NOT INTEND to eat anything that may be sprayed, not very well cooked etc., my family and friends simply think I'm weird! which is okay --- I'm happy to be weird.
01-20-2012, 10:53 PM   #20
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Our trip to the DR was great except I brought back a parasitic infection that required two courses of antibiotics to beat. The problem was the all day inclusive food being displayed on an outside buffet! Birds fly in and sample the foods while leaving their droppings mixed into the food... really a misery!
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01-22-2012, 12:30 AM   #21
surfergirl32
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General Suggestion: I read that some people said to put medications in the back that you check in. I would advise that be done with extreme cautious. People at the airport are allowed to go into anyone's bag and I have had stuff stolen from the airport people stealing stuff. I have never checked meds on so that wasn't a issue for me. Since many of us here are on expensive and serious medications, I would caution not having them with me at all time. If they were to take them, we would be in a very bad situation with medication and crohn's symptoms bringing us out of remission.

**Just my thoughts
01-22-2012, 02:43 AM   #22
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General Suggestion: I read that some people said to put medications in the back that you check in. I would advise that be done with extreme cautious. People at the airport are allowed to go into anyone's bag and I have had stuff stolen from the airport people stealing stuff. I have never checked meds on so that wasn't a issue for me. Since many of us here are on expensive and serious medications, I would caution not having them with me at all time. If they were to take them, we would be in a very bad situation with medication and crohn's symptoms bringing us out of remission.

**Just my thoughts
I'd have to double check to be sure, but I've had my bags searched at the airport several times, and they have always been in my presence. I'm pretty sure, at least in the US you have the right to be present when they look through your carry-on bags... However checked baggage that set off any alarms you are never present for when they search through them. And the problem of theft from baggage is far worse with checked baggage than carry-on.
02-05-2012, 04:26 PM   #23
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If your traveling to Europe, you should expect to pay to use the bathroom. Keep some small change available for bathroom visits. Some places, especially in Germany at gas stations on the autobahn, use an automated pay machine to enter the bathroom. Most of these give you a coupon worth the amount you paid that can be used in their store/restaurant/coffee shop.
02-17-2012, 01:16 AM   #24
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Hi

My husband and I thinking of taking our son to San Francisco in October, so I thought I would start shopping about for travel insurance. I'm having such trouble here in the UK because of his Crohns, they'll insure him but not his Crohns (which is completely pointless!). Any suggestions anyone?

Treena x
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02-17-2012, 04:15 AM   #25
bigtruck
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Try a firm called The insurance surgery. You can find their details online.
02-17-2012, 04:53 AM   #26
MumofOli
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Great thanks, I'll give them a try.

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03-07-2012, 10:43 AM   #27
AlliD511
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It's never been the packing of meds and supplies that has given me the most concern when traveling, but the occasional ignorance of the TSA when it comes to the treatment and lifestyle of those with a chronic condition. Especially in the case of Tom Sawyer's pat down - I admit afterwards I was pretty scared to travel by plane. I didn't want to go through the new security scanner so they could take pictures of my bag or have my bag violated in a pat-down.

But so far it hasn't been a huge issue for me since I don't travel that often and when I do I've just walked through the basic metal scanner, which I'm thankful for - if there comes a day I need to patted-down, I know my rights.

I haven't taken big enough trips or expensive enough ostomy supplies to need travel insurance, but I always just my travelers checklist, before I go. If that helps!
03-12-2012, 07:31 PM   #28
Chrismac
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Hey,
I've travelled to places of varying cleanliness and for the most part I was fine. I went to Beijing and took a letter from my doctor explaining the medication in my hand luggage but they never asked about it so since then I've never bothered and not had a problem. Maybe I'll get caught out on that one day.

I have been to Tanzania and got a small flare up, but I found if I grabbed a bucket of water before I went to the toilet you can pour that down if it doesn't flush and it does the job (not that there will always be a bucket to hand)
Also, I stayed in Maasai villages which was great because it was a big pit in the ground, so you crouch and aim. Easy. No splashback, no flush worries, only bugs. I took loads of baby wipes, much nicer (except the one pitch black night I mistook my mosquito repellant wipes for baby wipes.. burn!)

When I had a really bad flare up I was in Sicily, I'd been docked there/sailing for 6 weeks. I got so bad that I was going every hour all day and night until it was just blood, no food. I lost so much energy that I couldn't even go on my watch, I spent the whole sail in bed.
Long story short, I ended up in a hospital in Catania with a Spanish speaking friend to translate (I'd have been lost without her). They took a blood test, we had to wait for hours for the results. The toilet in the waiting room had no soap, luckily I had alcohol gel. They put me on a drip that had an air bubble in it that I only noticed when it was centimetres from my vein and they had no beds so they wanted to put me on a black 'doctors room' bed. NO. WAY. I refused, checked out and went back to the boat where I was comfortable and had the crew to look after me. Lesson from that: take enough medication. The doctor can get you more if you give enough notice.
03-14-2012, 11:53 AM   #29
woops!
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I also let my MD, and MD's nurse know I am traveling. That way if they get phone call from me they know I am calling long distance and will help me right away. This has been helpfull in the past when they were able to fax my medication information to me at a MD office in Ireland when a flair decided to hit. Just makes it eaiser
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03-22-2012, 08:27 PM   #30
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Hi guys! This is exactly the info I was looking for when I logged on.

Definitely agree about the meds. I went to Germany for a friends wedding in 2010 and it was just at the time when we got all the snow and loads of flights got cancelled. I was stuck there for a week longer than I had planned for and I ran out of Modulen and I couldnt get any decent food anywhere! Loads of sausage, chips, cheese and pepperoni.. I'm sure not all German food is like this but thats all everyone I was with seemed to want to eat. One day I took 20 lopermide and it still wasnt working... it was quite funny in hindsight!

I havent been to many countries but Australia, Spain and Frace were all fine. I'd love to go to Vietnam or Thailand but I am worried all the food will make me sick. It probably not a good idea!
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