20 Tips for Traveling Wisely With Cystic Fibrosis

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by Brad Dell |

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Adventuring with cystic fibrosis can be a headache when dealing with typical travel planning on top of your health considerations: packing all meds and supplies, having a crisis plan, knowing airport security rules, and avoiding bacteria and viruses during the travel.

Here are some tips to help ease the traveling woes:

Planning the trip and packing

  1. Purchase travel insurance. You might not need it, but better safe than sorry.
  2. Research CF centers near your destination in case there is an emergency. Keep their contact info with you.
  3. Have a friend with CF in the area? Let them know you’re coming. No, not so you can meet. So they can help you with info or medication resupplies if there is a crisis.
  4. Pack your cold medicines in a Yeti cooler, or stick nebulized medicine vials into Yeti or Hydro Flask mugs with ice.
  5. Organize supplies into differently sized baggies with clear compartments and labels, as you might have to unpack and repack everything when going through security. 
  6. Purchase and test a travel nebulizer.
  7. Purchase adaptors that fit a variety of power outlets in case your destination has a different type than what you’re used to.
  8. Find a way to sterilize your nebulizers at the hotel. Try Medela Steam Bags or the traditional microwave sterilization.
  9. Contact your hotel ahead of time to ensure there will be a microwave for sanitization.

MORE: The dos and don’ts of going to college with cystic fibrosis

Getting through airport security

  1. For many airports, medical supplies are exempt from the carry-on limit. Keep supplies in your carry-on, as checked-in luggage is often lost.
  2. Check guidelines for each airport regarding traveling with medical supplies, as it differs from place to place. This includes rules about prescription bottle labeling and allowable liquid sizes. Here are the U.S. guidelines.
  3. Carry a doctor’s note saying you need the medications, supplies, and machines that you’ve packed. It’s rare that security actually asks for a note, though.
  4. If you are traveling internationally, be sure to leave your prescription meds in the original bottles. If you’ve sorted medicines into separate compartments without labels, many airports could hold you up.

On the plane

  1. Don’t eat, as bacteria and viruses float about the plane cabin.
  2. Sanitize your surroundings (including the pop-down table) before sitting. Ask an attendant if you can enter the cabin earlier than other travelers so you can take your time doing this.
  3. Use hand sanitizer constantly, avoid touching your face, and wear a mask. Masks that filter out the most particles are best.
  4. Encourage your traveling companions to take the same precautions so you don’t catch any germs they get on the plane.
  5. Use something like NeilMed’s saline gel spray to keep your sinuses hydrated, as the air on the plane is dry.
  6. Drink as much water as possible. The dry air can make mucus extra thick — hydration will thin it. Skip the alcohol, coffee, and sugared drinks (unless diabetic).
  7. When drinking water, keep a lid on your bottle while not using it.

What are your favorite travel tips? Let us know in the comments!

MORE: Seven tips for preventing reflux and aspiration

Cystic Fibrosis News Today 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.


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