Traveling Overseas with ITP

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Feature image from ITPANDME

Can you travel Overseas with ITP?

The simple answer is – Yes.

Travelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  Seeing new places can be eye-opening and awe-inspiring.  Lots of people I have heard from over the last few years have shared with me their worries and concerns about traveling with ITP.  I would like to register my response, formally.

I say yes to traveling.  I say yes to heading overseas with ITP, with your medications and your worries and your concerns and your letters from your travel insurance agent.  I am writing this article from a hotel room in Phuket, Thailand.

My partner and I are spending the next three weeks exploring Thailand.  Today I saw my first real life Elephant.

At my last blood count, I was just under 40.  I asked my Haematologist if I could still go to Thailand, and she said yes – She said, ‘Be careful but yes’.  Having ITP means that I take extra care to prepare for my trip.  It also means that I make different choices than I would have six years ago.  I don’t participate in ANY adventure activities while overseas – I don’t travel on the back of scooters, and I am very conscious of where and when I walk around on the road.

Here is my Check List, that made my trip possible

As always, the details will depend on your own doctor’s advice.

  • Take More Than Enough Medication: Make sure you have enough medicine to cover your entire trip, and then another month.  Never pack exactly the right amount on your overseas holiday.  You just never know what is going to happen with the weather or the planes.  There are so many factors that could prolong your return trip. (One being that you want to stay on)  So, if you are taking daily medication, make sure you have at least 3 or 4 extra days’ worth of medication (I say as much as possible).
  • Separate Your Medicine Into Two Different Bags:  Last night at the Phuket International Airport, my partner and I were waiting with a new friend for his bag to come off the plane.  Everyone else’s bags had arrived, and all we needed was one more – Jamie’s Bag.  It never came.  It might sound obvious to you, but it’s funny how many people travel with everything in one bag.  I always carry medication in my hiking pack and medication in my carry on.  I like to keep it with me in transit and try to keep it protected from temperature and moisture changes.  If my bag got lost underneath… no big deal. I also keep an emergency bottle in my partners bag just in case.
  • Inform Your Doctor: Tell your doctor.  Tell your Doctor.  Tell your Doctor.  Nobody on earth should travel overseas without first consulting their doctor.  Doctors know heaps or great stuff, like what vaccinations you will need, whether you can drink the water or how important repellent is for protection against Dengue Fever.  I travel with a letter from my Doctor at all times, and his phone number on my companions person.
  • Take a Letter Explaining Your Condition:  Take a letter from your Haematologist with you. The letter should identify you by name, summaries your medical history so that a layperson can understand it, identify any medications you are taking and have contact details of whom to contact.
  • Locate Medical Centres: Make sure you know where you could go for help in case something happens. Find out where the nearest hospitals are to your hotel. Also ask your doctor if they recommend any particular hospital or clinic – a personal reference is often a good thing to trust.
  • Ask About Reciprocal Health Care: Most countries are friendly with at least a few other countries.  I know that Australia has a few reciprocal health care arrangements with other countries, I think all the Commonwealth countries at least.
  • Register Your Trip: With friends and family – and also a government, travel agency or website.

Have fun & Get in the Sun! Try not to let ITP get in the way of your travels too much – Remember to see the sights, eat the food and have an experience you’ll never forget.  Vitamin D is good for your mood and will improve calcium absorption in your bones, so get into the water and under the sunshine.  Tanning also helps to mask and cover the bruises on your legs and knees.

Further Reading

FEAR OF TRAVELING WITH ITP and how to overcome it.

TRAVEL INSURANCE for people with ITP

Also – google a few forums where people are chatting and asking questions about traveling with ITP. I simply googled ‘Traveling with ITP?’ and lots of information came up.  There are lots of people out there talking about this right now.

by Meg

Meghan Brewster is a writer and blogger. She is an ITP patient and launched ITP&Me in 2011. She is a coffee lover and a try hard dancer. @meghan_brewster

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