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Suffering from a stroke is an extremely traumatic experience, both for mind and body. A holiday can be extremely helpful as part of the healing process, giving you the time and space that you need to fully recover. Life post-stroke does carry a degree more complexity, so it is important that your holiday plans change to accommodate the changes in your personal circumstances, especially if you’re travelling abroad.
In this article we’ll illustrate some practical ways that you can plan for a holiday after a stroke, allowing you to confidently enjoy your time abroad.
As with anyone about to embark on a holiday abroad, travel insurance is extremely important; while things rarely do go wrong on holiday, you want to ensure that you have appropriate coverage on the off chance that something does. As someone who has had a stroke, insurance will be harder to find, as most insurance companies will be unwilling to cover the extra risk. Indeed, the wide spectrum of post-stroke side effects make the task of assessing an individual particularly difficult, especially for insurers that lack experience in this area.
Fortunately, Insurancewith was started specifically to allow those suffering from debilitating or high risk medical conditions to gain travel insurance. As we work on a case by case basis, utilising a bespoke medical screening system, we are able to form a far more comprehensive picture of your medical situation than other insurance companies, and therefore provide you with a much fairer, cheaper premium. When your case is assessed you’re being seen as an individual, not just as a stroke victim, and both the premium and coverage of your Insurancewith policy will reflect this.
It’s always a good idea to check ahead with both the foreign office, and, if necessary, with a relevant travel authority from the country you intend to travel to, as to what medication is and isn’t allowed to pass across their border. The last thing you want to happen is for essential medication to be confiscated once you reach your destination.
Another thing to bear in mind is how easily luggage can go missing in airports or transport hubs; a good practice to get into when travelling with essential medication is to pack more than you would normally need for the time period of your holiday, and to spread this medication over multiple pieces of luggage. This way, if one goes missing, you still have medication available, to you. It almost goes without saying that you should also ensure that you have medication in your carry-on luggage, to ensure that you are not caught without them during the flight!
In relation to flying post-stroke, the best policy is always to ask your doctor. Generally speaking you should definitely avoid flying for the first two week post stroke, as this is the highest risk time period for side effects to materialise. It is just an unfortunate fact of flight that there are numerous factors that can exacerbate side effects from your stroke, or even suffer a second stroke.
One of the most well-publicised risks associated with travelling via airline is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that arises as a result of the long periods of inactivity that are endemic with air travel. Sitting still for long periods of time slows blood flow, which can lead to blood clots forming in your veins. In air travel related cases of DVT, this most often occurs in the leg. If the clot breaks away and reaches your brain, blood flow to your brain could be prevented, causing a stroke. While this is a risk for everyone who travels on a plane, you are at additional risk from DVT if you have already suffered a stroke.
This means that DVT prevention is even more important if you’ve had a stroke, so if you find yourself travelling by plane post-stroke, be sure to utilise the following the DVT risk reduction techniques. Fortunately, these DVT risk prevention techniques are easy to perform, and require minimal space, which is doubly helpful in the tight confines of a plane! Firstly, you can wear elasticated compression stockings, an easy to purchase passive DVT prevention tool. Secondly, make an effort to stay hydrated, as dehydration increases the risk of blood clots by thickening your blood. Lastly, manually re-establish circulation! By performing small exercises throughout the flight, you promote blood flow, minimising the chances of blood clotting, and therefore minimising the chances of DVT developing.