5 Things You Should Do When Traveling with a Chronic Illness
Traveling is great! We love traveling, seeing new sights, eating different foods, and experiencing new things.
But when you have a chronic illness, traveling can also be a nightmare. New germs, different food hygiene standards, sensory overload, jet lag, and crowds can make it difficult. For some, traveling is hard work.
So, from one anxious, chronically awesome person to another, I’ve compiled a list of the top five things I do when I travel. These help to put my mind at ease and conserve my energy levels. Hopefully, they will help you, too. (This column was inspired by an article on Multiple Sclerosis News Today by Mary Chapman. Be sure to take the survey to help improve air travel for wheelchair users.)
1. Use airport assistance
I remember when I first used airport assistance. I was terrified. I imagined them asking me all sorts of questions, and I thought they’d question whether I was even entitled to the service. (After all, I don’t “look” sick.)
But after flying to Nashville, Tennessee, and having lousy exhaustion that almost ruined our holiday, I felt I had no choice but to use airport assistance the next time.
It wasn’t as bad as I had thought, once I got past being in a wheelchair for the first time and feeling like everyone was looking at me. I felt like a VIP! It saves so much energy that I can spend on enjoying time at the destination.
Here is a great column by fellow Multiple Sclerosis News Today columnist Jennifer Powell about her experiences traveling with secondary progressive MS.
2. Disinfect everything
My husband always finds it amusing that I disinfect everything. My hand sanitizer is forever within reach, and I take antibacterial wipes seriously. I always take precautions, cleaning everything from my seat on the plane to the light switches in the hotel room. For me, it just works. It keeps my anxiety at bay and ensures I don’t pick up any bugs and get sick on holiday.
3. Take your bee propolis
Bee propolis is a recent find that’s been an absolute godsend for me. I started taking bee propolis throat spray a few months ago, and I haven’t had a cold, flu, or “add-on-to-MS” illness since — even though my husband has. It’s insanely good for you.
Bee propolis is a resin that bees use to coat the inside of their hives to protect their honey from bacteria. It’s an all-natural antibacterial with over 300 useful compounds. The one I use comes in a travel pack that’s TSA-friendly, which is super awesome.
4. Drink plenty of fluids
This one is a given. Flying is super dehydrating, and water helps to flush any harmful toxins out of your body to keep you healthy and well. To up your hydration, you could also take hydration tablets, which contain lots of vitamins and minerals to help you absorb more water. I always have a few packs of these on hand.
Another important note: Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine on a flight — they will not help.
5. Manage anxiety
This was a big one for me. You may have read my previous column about how I manage anxiety by following a specific morning routine. For a simplified version, I created a free, five-day stress challenge you can do through Facebook Messenger. It has a breathing exercise that is especially useful on a plane. Trust me — it’s a tried and tested method.
If you’re traveling for business, these tips may help, too. Also, check out Mike Knight’s seven tips for traveling.
So there you have it. The next time you are looking to travel anywhere, test these tips out. Let me know how you get on at the ENabled Warriors Facebook group or in the comments below.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
I too, was hesitant to use the airport assistance... I apologized for having them HAVE to take me so far, etc... then I had one gentleman that was moving me in the wheelchair explain to me that I needed to look at things differently... he loved his job, thought it was a great way to help others and if I didn't need him to take me from one place to another, he wouldn't HAVE a job... after that, I zipped my mouth shut, smiled and enjoyed the ride!