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Many chronic illness patients tend to abandon their dream vacations due to their health issues. Traveling with a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease can be challenging but not impossible. The key to traveling with a chronic illness is being prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. With spring and summer vacation around the corner, here are some travel tips for those who suffer with irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
Before you depart:
• Confirm with your physician and any of your specialists that you are well enough to travel
• Secure a list of physicians within a 10-20 mile radius of your vacation destination
• Ask your doctor for a written plan of action in case your condition worsens while you're traveling
• Make copies of all prescriptions. If you are traveling internationally, secure the foreign brand or generic names of your medications
• Ask your doctor for a health profile document. The typed document includes the following information:
o detailed medical diagnosis
o a pill card listing medications (including both generic and brand names) and dosages
o names and telephone and fax numbers of your health care providers
o emergency contact persons
o photocopies of your insurance card
o photocopies of your passport or photo identification
Here is a list of health danger signs for Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis patients. Consult a physician immediately if you have any of the following signs:
• High fever and shaking chills. These signs may represent a bacterial inflammation which requires intravenous antibiotics.
• Bloody diarrhea. This sign suggests a major flare-up of colitis, an ulceration of the intestines which may be caused by a bacterium or parasite.
• Severe abdominal pain and/or abdominal distension accompanied by severe abdominal tenderness or nausea and vomiting. This may indicate complications of Crohn’s disease.
• Dizziness on standing up or an episode of fainting. These symptoms may indicate lowered blood pressure. This may be due to the malfunction of the adrenal gland which is an indication your steroid dose will need to be adjusted.