Summer Travel Tips for Those with Heart Disease or Stroke

Summertime offers the perfect opportunity to escape and unwind with a well-deserved vacation. However, for those living with health conditions such as heart disease or stroke, traveling can present unique challenges.

Check In with Your Health Care Provider

Consult your primary care physician or specialist about your travel plans and any specific health considerations. They can provide guidance on restrictions or precautions to keep in mind. Carry a list of all medications, including dosages and pharmacy information. It’s also wise to bring copies of key medical records and a list of phone numbers, including your doctors and emergency contacts.

Manage Your Medications

Make sure medications are clearly labeled and pack enough to last the entire trip. If traveling across time zones, ask your health care provider to help adjust medication schedules. For medications that require refrigeration, research how to pack them properly for airport security and ensure your lodging has a refrigerator.

Plan for Transportation

Whether traveling by plane, bus, train, or cruise ship, plan ahead for any special medical equipment. If you use a wheelchair, walker, or other assistance devices, check with the travel company on how to transport them properly.

Master the Airport

During this busy travel season, planning ahead can simplify your airport experience. If you have a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, you may need special security screening. Navigating a crowded terminal can be tiring, so consider requesting a wheelchair or courtesy cart when booking your ticket. Long flights can increase the risk of blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Wearing compression socks and walking around the cabin when safe can help improve circulation.

Know the Signs

Knowing the signs of heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest is crucial, especially when away from home. If you or someone you’re with experiences symptoms, call 911 immediately. Many airports offer kiosks where you can learn Hands-Only CPR while waiting for your flight.

“Every individual’s condition is unique, and you’ll want to tailor your travel plans to your specific needs,” Velarde said. “By taking a little time now to plan and prepare, your vacation can be just what the doctor ordered to help you unwind and recharge.”

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