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Travel can be detrimental to patients on Inflammation Therapy (IT). Travel, whether short or long-distance, involves increased light exposure and increased activity. See Light Sensitivity.

Unfamiliar food and jet lag may add to the stress. Patients are also increasing their exposure to other pathogens (e.g., common cold, flu) when they venture out.
 
For patients who are still photosensitive, have food or chemical sensitivities, become fatigued easily or are actively herxing, travel may be especially difficult.
 
Before deciding to travel or even go out to do an errand, patients should ask themselves if traveling is in their best interests, are they likely to tolerate this event and “can this outing be avoided?”
 
Perhaps someone else can do the errand (don’t be reluctant to ask for help) or the outing can be done after dark or the trip can be postponed until later in the healing process. We've had several patients postpone long-anticipated vacations after they realized that travel might be harmful and/or they would probably not feel well while traveling.
 
Take precautions
 
Taking precautions may prevent an increase in symptoms during outings and trips:
 
• Wear NoIRs
• Cover skin with dark clothing, hat, scarf, gloves, socks, etc.
• Apply sunscreen to skin that is unavoidably exposed (e.g., face, neck, hands).
 
If the outing will be overnight or longer:

• Dampen Herxheimer reactions by adjusting antibiotic doses.
• Pack extra medications and water for trips.
• Rest when possible.
• Use anxiety medication if necessary.
• Arrange for an area of dim lighting for respite.
• Plan ahead for meals.
• Stay hydrated.
• Review the checklist of techniques to keep symptoms tolerable.
• Pack a copy of Herxheimer Symptom Managment.
 
These tips may decrease light exposure:
 
• Sit in the back seat for auto travel to decrease natural light exposure.
• Avoid air travel until photosensitivity has diminished.
• Book an airline window seat so you can put the shade down.
• Ask the airline for wheelchair assistance.
• Have a wrap or similar clothing to drape yourself and/or the car window.
• In front seat, swing the sun visor to the side window and zip a cushion cover over it so it hangs down.
• Secure a towel by pinching it at the top of the passenger window.
• Take precautions to avoid light at each stop.
• Cover guest bedroom windows with dark sheets, redi-shades or aluminum foil.
• Limit social time in light rooms to after dark.
• Pack 15 watt light bulbs if eyes are sensitive.
• Travel at night.
• Be aware of extra light from skylights and large windows or doors in gyms, shopping malls, airports, etc.
 
Reminder:
  • Natural light > protect skin and eyes.
  • Artificial light > protect eyes / not skin.
Immunizations
 
Immunizations carry the risk of transmitting CWD bacteria along with the vaccine. But traveling to a third world country carries risks of acute infections so patients should follow their doctor’s advice regarding immunizations (some may be mandatory).
 
Traveler's diarrhea
 
According to several studies, regular use of acidophilus and other probiotics can help prevent ‘traveler's diarrhea’ (an illness caused by eating contaminated food, usually in developing countries). Anti-diarrhea medication should be used with caution, especially if diarrhea is caused by bacteria. Avoid using an anti-diarrhea medication (e.g., Imodium) until 72 hrs of diarrhea or if diarrhea threatens to cause dehydration.
 
Cruise vacation
 
A cruise is an option for patients who are willing to take adequate precautions and skip the shore excursions. Avoiding light exposure requires determined diligence but it can be done. If travel companions are supportive (they may be thrilled that you can just take some sort of vacation together), it’s possible to enjoy the comfort of the darkened cabin during the day and socialize after dark.
The opportunity to rest during each day and then enjoy the evening may be worth giving up the ports of call and sunny events on deck.
 
Contingency plan
 
You won't know until you try it if your vacation will be enjoyable while trying to recover from your chronic illness. You may find that taking every precaution is still not enough. Keep that in mind and have some contingency plan for abandoning the trip if symptoms become intolerable.
 
Flying with supplemental oxygen
 
In air travel, the airplane often flies at about 30,000 feet, with the cabin pressure adjusted to between 5,000 to 8,000 feet. This is equivalent to being at high altitude and the oxygen level may drop compared to the sea level value. A person who usually only uses night-time oxygen may need supplemental oxygen during air travel. Your doctor should determine the oxygen flow (usually available either with 2 or 4 liters per minute). Some people only need to be sure a small portable oxygen tank will be available in order to get on and off the plane or leave their seat to use the bathroom.
 
You may not be allowed to use your own oxygen tanks during flight. Instead, most airlines provide you with oxygen for an extra fee. Charges can range from $50 to $150 for each leg of your trip.
 
You can find tips for air travelers requiring supplemental oxygen on this NHLBI page.