What to Do When Traveling with Sickle Cell

What to Do When Traveling with Sickle Cell

The love I have for traveling is like no other. I love immersing myself in different cultures and experiencing different ways of living. However, as someone with sickle cell, traveling can be a completely different experience. For me, it’s definitely more stressful.

Here are a few things that people with sickle cell must consider before setting off on a trip:

  • Pack for every situation: I try to think of all the things I might need, from A to Z. I pack for every possible situation. What if it rains? What if I get ill? What if I’m too cold? What if I’m too hot? What if my flight gets canceled? What if I’m stuck abroad for longer than anticipated? I usually end up overpacking, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
  • Weather: Check the weather before you leave so you know what to expect and can pack accordingly. You may be going somewhere known for its decent weather, but the weather may change when you’re there. Just be sure!
  • Insurance: I’m U.K., born and bred, so I tend to take the National Health Service for granted because it’s all I’ve known. I’m fortunate in the sense that I’ve never had to worry about medical assistance, because no matter where I am in the U.K., it’s always readily available. However, not all countries have free healthcare. Try to get health insurance if you can.
  • Vaccinations: Make sure you’re up to date on all of your vaccinations. Sickle cell can weaken the body’s immune system, so it’s important to do everything you can to protect yourself from infection. You can check if you’re up to date by contacting your primary physician. If you’re traveling somewhere with a risk of malaria, make sure to pack some antimalarial tablets, too!
  • Speak to your healthcare practitioners: Let them know that you’re traveling and listen to their advice. They may be more knowledgeable about things that may impact your health.


Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News 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 Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.

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  1. Miss Lady says:

    These are all great tips, Tito. Thanks.

    Nowadays, airplanes can be SO cold. I always make sure to dress in super warm layers to combat the chill.

    Also, patients with sickle-cell are at risk for all sorts of complications when we fly in an aircraft due to the lack of oxygen. I discovered a supplement called Cellfood that helps me prevent these flight-induced complications. The supplement puts oxygen in my blood so that my cells don’t sickle as much and I have less crises on the plane. I don’t fly without it especially on long international flights when there is so little oxygen in the air for a long period of time.

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