5 Tips for Traveling with Lupus

Traveling requires a lot of preparation. Factor in an autoimmune disease like lupus and the thought of traveling can become overwhelming and seem nearly impossible, particularly during a flare. However, patients with lupus can fulfill their travel dreams or obligations. We’ve put together a brief guide to traveling with lupus to help make your next trip not only possible, but enjoyable.

Why does lupus make it difficult to travel?

Lupus is a systemwide condition that occurs when your body defense system attacks your organs. It can affect joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, lungs and even your heart and brain. Most people with lupus have mild flares where symptoms get worse before improving and go away for a time period. During a flare, symptoms like fatigue, weakness, joint pain and debilitating headaches can make it hard to travel. These five tips can make it the journey easier.

1. Travel with a companion when possible

Traveling with someone who has an understanding of your condition can make all the difference should you experience a flare during your trip. Whether it’s a family member, friend or co-worker, it’s wise to travel with a companion you trust who can spring into action and care for you if necessary. You may feel fine one minute and then double over in pain minutes later. The unpredictability and limitations imposed during a lupus flare mean you may need assistance during your trip.

2. Choose a location based on your abilities

A rowdy spring break locale may not be the best location for someone living with lupus. You may find yourself in situations where you need the assistance of a motorized scooter or where peace and quiet is necessary. Choose a location that can accommodate your needs so you can enjoy your trip.

3. Pack a lupus comfort kit

At home you’ve likely developed coping skills and discovered certain tools that help you through a flare. Whether it’s medication to manage pain, or your favorite music to relax you, packing a lupus comfort kit can make traveling with your condition manageable. Here are some ideas to put in your comfort kit:

4. Respect your limits and plan to rest

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of visiting a different city or country. There’s often so much to see and do that you can find yourself on the go nonstop. However, it’s important for people living with lupus to avoid overextending themselves. Even if you feel good now, a flare may be right around the corner. In between activities plan time to rest, relax, read a book, allow yourself to recuperate and always get a good night sleep.

During activities, take your time and avoid rushing. Even if an activity isn’t particularly taxing, people with lupus often have lower stamina and need more time to both complete activities and recover from them.

5. Discuss travel plans with your doctor

Before you travel, it’s a good idea to discuss your travel plans with your rheumatologist. Lupus affects each individual differently, and your health care provider knows how to best manage your condition while away from home. Your rheumatologist will ensure that you take all of the right precautions for your trip and will warn you if it’s not the right time to travel.

What’s not to love about traveling? Spending time away to recharge and immersing yourself in another culture are just a few things to look forward to.

If you need help managing your condition so you can travel comfortably, visit Rheumatology Center of New Jersey. The team at RCNJ provides comprehensive lupus care and is dedicated to helping people with lupus live well. Call the office nearest you or book a visit online today

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