Travelling the world with Cystic Fibrosis
If you have cystic fibrosis or know someone with it, the thought of travelling the world for three months could be terrifying to them. How would you travel with that much medication? How can you be that far away from your local CF centre?
Truth is, travelling for that long is possible, providing that you’re organised beforehand. We’ve pulled together some of BethanyJay’s top tips for travelling with the condition:
Check your health
“I’m so against the idea of letting this condition stop anyone from doing anything, but you do have to be realistic. If your health is in a bad place right now, perhaps it’s not the right time to travel the world. Luckily, my health has been stable and I haven’t needed any hospital stays for around five years. I’ve been to university in this time, where I was living away from home and about 50 miles away from any CF team. I also stretched out the time between clinic appointments so I didn’t have to travel home all the time and it worked out okay, so I know I can go a couple of months with seeing the CF team.
If your health isn’t too good right now, but you do want to go travelling, do what you can to get better and then take the trip when it’s a better time. If you’re pretty stable or perhaps the healthiest you’ve ever been, then there isn’t a better time. Start a conversation with your CF team and work out the logistics from there – they’ll support you all the way!”
“Taking 8 – 10 medications abroad is slightly daunting, especially when it needs to be a 3 month supply. Thankfully, my CF team has allowed me to leave a couple at home. Be sensible and only do this if your CF team agree! Make sure that you order your prescription enough in advance so you have enough time to count them out and organise them to take up as little space as possible! Have a conversation about any extra ones that you might need to – depending on the climates that you’re heading to. It’s a good idea to take a pack of extra antibiotics with you too, just incase you start to feel unwell during your trip.”
“It’s important that you tell your travel insurance provider that you have CF, because if you haven’t declared it and something happens then they can refuse to cover the costs. A lot can change so it was essential that I declare CF for this trip. When searching price comparison websites I was being quoted over £2,000, or I wasn’t finding a company that would insure me at all. During my search I spoke to people with a variety of conditions, who suggested a couple of companies that cater specifically for people with long-term health conditions. In the end I used Insurancewith.com, where I got 3 months cover at a much more reasonable price!”
“If you think that you might need treatment or a check-up when you’re away, have a conversation with your CF team about getting care at a CF centre abroad. If you’re travelling through big cities with large hospitals, there might be an opportunity to get checked out and prescribed any extra medications if you feel unwell.
Keeping your CF team up to date with plans is important. Make sure that you can contact them while you are away, just incase anything happens or you feel like you need advice. They’ll also tell you what activities you should stay away from – for example, I asked about the typical, extreme Australian activities like sky-diving, bungee-jumping and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. We haven’t planned to do these things but incase they came up, I wanted to be informed. The only one I could realistically do is bungee-jumping – deep diving and jumping out of a plane might have too much of a negative effect on my lungs!”
An added note, if you are planning on travelling with cystic fibrosis, it’s also important to remember that certain regions carry a risk of certain infections so travelling to warm climates outside of Europe, and in particular to tropical areas, especially in South East Asia, Northern Australia should be carefully considered and discussed with your CF care team.
We’ll be keeping up to date with all of BethanyJay’s adventures as she travels the world on her three-month trip, but you can also follow her blog or her Twitter and Instagram handles.