COPD and Traveling
Individuals with COPD may sometimes fear leaving home, afraid of having difficulty breathing during travel or at their destination. As long as he or she is able to be up and around at home, there is no reason why they can’t take a trip. Having COPD doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home. If you plan a trip with care, you can have an enjoyable time. While on your trip, remember to pace yourself and get the proper amount of rest.
- Tell your Heart ‘n Home Nurse about your trip so they can order extra medications. Call your airline in advance and ask about their policy / procedure regarding oxygen. Most likely, the airline will require a letter from your doctor, brief medical history, and a current prescription for oxygen.
- Ask your doctor for contacts he/she is comfortable with in the area you are traveling to (i.e., names of local doctors, hospitals, and clinics).
- Pack half your medications in your carry-on, in case your luggage gets lost.
- Write your daily schedule for taking medication, treatments, etc. Check this each day because it is easy to forget old routines in new surroundings.
Traveling by Car
- Keep the windows closed to avoid fumes from the traffic.
- Do NOT allow anyone to smoke in the car.
- Plan your route for times when the roads won’t be congested with traffic.
- Stop and rest when you feel the need. Get out of the car and walk around for a few minutes if able.
- If possible, place your oxygen upright in the seat beside you and secure it with a seat belt. If you have extra units, place them on the floor behind the front seats.
While Traveling and at Your Destination
- Drink lots of clear fluids. The air on the plane tends to be dry. Drinking plenty of fluids will keep the lining of your respiratory tract moist.
- Enjoy your meals, but avoid over eating and over drinking.
- In cities or high air-pollution areas, travel at night or early morning if possible.
- Don’t over do it! It’s better to visit the same place twice than to try to do too much in one day.
- Avoid allergy triggers, such as pollen or feather pillows.
At Heart ‘n Home we have a unique Pulmonary Program that is designed to provide quality care at end of life for patients that suffer from pulmonary disease. Call us today at 1-800-HOSPICE (800-467-7423) for additional information.