If you are dealing with Ulcerative Colitis, traveling can seem daunting. Many people often just opt out of taking trips when they have UC. Unfortunately this can mean missing out on both personal and professional opportunities. But, in some instances travel is just plain unavoidable.
Don't worry While it can still be overwhelming to think about traveling with UC these few tips can have you jet setting with the best of them.
Know when to say "no."
If your UC is not under control or you are in the middle of a huge flare-up it may be best to postpone travel. Forcing your body to comply with your schedule rarely works out well. You don't want to compound the problem by being stuck far from your physician. Work with your physician to reach and maintain control of your UC so when you do travel it will be at optimum health.
Bring all of your medications.
If you are going to be traveling be sure to bring all of your medications with you. It is also important to be sure to bring enough medications to last the entire trip. Filling prescriptions in other areas can be a pain! If you will be flying make sure to carry your medications with you so that you don't wind up in trouble if the airline looses your luggage.
Carry the appropriate insurance.
Be sure to carry your insurance cards and any other emergency medical information. If you are traveling overseas you may want to consider International Medical Insurance if your normal coverage does not not extend overseas.
Plan ahead for an emergency visit.
No matter where you are traveling it is important to know where the nearest hospital is located. Whenever possible it can help to know the name and location of the nearest doctor specializing in UC. This saves a lot of chaos should an emergency room or physician visit be needed. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation has a list of doctors within the United States and you can contact the American Embassy for a list of overseas physicians.
Know how to find a bathroom.
Most people with UC will have every bathroom mapped out for their local area but when you are traveling you will need the same access to a restroom. A little planning ahead can help you locate a bathroom easily. Try the Charmin SitORSquat App to quickly find a public restroom when away from home.
Seek treatment for emergency symptoms.
Being stuck mid-flight or on the road with a medical emergency will more than likely make the situation worse, not better. If you have any emergency symptoms like high fever, severe abdominal pain or bloody diarrhea please seek treatment immediately.
**Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition. She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years. Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER).