I previously shared my suggestions for someone with sickle cell to prepare for a trip and travel by airplane. In this column, I want to tell you about some of the actions I take to ensure optimal health while on holiday and following my return home.
Insect repellent: I travel to Nigeria frequently. Malaria is a prevalent issue there, so I don’t take any chances with mosquitoes. I do my best to minimize my exposure to them. When I’m indoors, I turn on the air conditioning instead of opening windows, and before I leave the house, I spray on insect repellent and carry a bottle with me. I use a maximum-strength repellent. One application typically lasts 10 hours, but I still spray on a fresh layer every time I leave the house. Additionally, 30 minutes before bed, I treat the room with an insect-killing spray. My routine might seem excessive, but one can’t be too careful — I believe in prevention over cure.
Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is essential for managing sickle cell, promoting blood flow, and reducing the risk of red blood cells sickling and sticking together. You can become dehydrated quickly when you’re in a warmer climate than you’re accustomed to. Drink at least 2 to 4 liters of water a day when you’re traveling in hot weather.
Locate medical services: Be prepared for the worst-case scenario. When you arrive at your destination, find the location of the nearest doctor and pharmacy. The last time I fell ill abroad, I didn’t know where to find medical care. I panicked, and the stress didn’t help my recovery.
Have fun: De-stress, enjoy your holiday, and focus on making pleasant memories. Stress is a potential trigger for a sickle cell crisis, so do all you can to avoid it — relax and don’t let yourself get worked up.
Rest: Traveling takes a lot out of me. I don’t realize how tired I am until I’m back in my own bed. Following a trip, I feel extremely lethargic and stay in bed until my energy is restored. After traveling, I recommend that you take time out to recover and allow your body to readjust to the time zone and the climate. Jumping straight into a busy routine can have adverse effects on your health.
What are some of your tips to make traveling easier? Please share in the comments below.
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.