Multiple Sclerosis: Travel Planning
What to Bring continued...
Walking stick. Even if you walk with ease, think about whether a lightweight walking stick or other aid would help you save energy.
Cool or warm gear. Prepare for the weather, and remember to bring your cooling vest or a hat and gloves.
You can also adapt gear to help you keep cool. "A patient who took a mountain biking trip to Utah in the middle of August filled a CamelBak two-thirds full with water every night and froze it. Then she filled it the rest of the way each morning," Jung-Henson says. "That was her hydration and cooling."
Before You Leave
Put these on your checklist:
Vaccinations. Don't get on a plane, train, or bus in flu season without a flu shot, Jung-Henson says.
Travel to certain countries may call for extra shots. Not all of them are right for people with MS. Your doctor and a travel clinic can work with you to weigh your options.
Medication schedule. Work with your doctor to decide when you should take your drugs if you'll be in a different time zone. Set alarms on your phone to remind you.
Referral. No one plans to see a doctor on vacation, but just in case, ask your doctor for the name of someone you could call at your destination. Consider packing a CD of your most recent MRI. Know the password to access your electronic medical records.
Navigating the Airport
Call TSA. The Transportation Security Administration has a special help line called "TSA Cares" for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions: 855-787-2227. Call 72 hours before check-in to find out what to expect at the airport. Tell them if you'll be carrying needles for injectable medication. You can also request a passenger support specialist who can help you at the airport.
Foreign airports. Research in advance their policies on needles and medications.
Use a wheelchair. Even if you don't usually need help walking, you might want to consider asking for a wheelchair and any other accommodation that will help you save energy and move more quickly to the gate and onto your flight.