Don't Let COPD Keep You at Home!
You can travel unrestricted with COPD, providing your symptoms are under good control and you take steps to prepare for your journey in advance.
By planning carefully, you will reduce the risks of developing complications while you travel and can enjoy your trip wholeheartedly. Let’s take a look at steps you can take which will help you to relax, stay well, and have a wonderful road trip.
See Your Doctor Before You Travel
Make an appointment to meet with your pulmonologist several weeks before you plan to leave on your trip. When scheduling your appointment, keep in mind that pulmonologists and other medical specialists are often booked up several months ahead of time, and call for an appointment as soon as you decide to travel.
By scheduling your appointment well in advance of your departure date, you will afford yourself with the time needed to have tests and medication adjustments made if necessary. Schedule appointments with any other specialists that provide care for you as well, and plan to see your primary care physician a week or two before you leave.
While meeting with your health care providers before your trip may seem unnecessary if you are feeling well and your symptoms are well controlled, keep in mind that travel, regardless of how delightful it is, does cause physical and mental strain. It is well worth the trouble of seeing your health care providers in advance of your journey so that you will be prepared to meet any challenges that come up while you’re away.
Plan Ahead for Managing Minor Ailments
Learn what your healthcare provider recommends for the treatment of common illnesses you might face while traveling. For example, find out what type of medications you can safely take for treatment of COPD headaches, muscle pains, and gastrointestinal disturbances.
Consider purchasing small sized packages of over-the-counter remedies to take with you. You will likely be able to obtain them at less cost than while on the road, and you will have the medications readily available should the need arise.
Reduce Stress With Advanced Planning
Many people who suffer from COPD struggle with anxiety related to shortness of breath. If you have anxiety, ask your health care provider about medication and other treatments that can be safely used while you travel.
Keep in mind that medications that reduce anxiety may make you drowsy, so if you are taking them you will need someone else to do the driving on your trip. If you are provided with a prescription for a new medication, take it at least one week before you leave, so that you can see how you tolerate it.
Regional Differences Impact COPD Symptoms
Notify your doctor or other health care provider if you are traveling to areas that have extreme temperatures. Changes in temperature and humidity levels may impact your symptoms.
Likewise, if you are traveling to areas of high elevation, your breathing and heart rate may be affected — you may be more prone to developing an irregular heartbeat. Ask your health care provider for recommendations.