Traveling while suffering from a thyroid condition poses its own set of unique difficulties. For example, if not planned for properly, air travel can cause dry eyes, undue stress on the immune system, and inhibited cognitive ability that can sap the enjoyment out of one’s trip. Regardless of one’s mode of travel, thyroid patients will likely experience some degree of disruption. The following 7 travel tips can help ensure that a thyroid patient’s getaways aren’t spent worrying about their condition and the body’s reaction to new places.
1. Plan Ahead
Travel can be a stressful experience, especially if there are a lot of unexpected problems. To avoid stress and reduce its impact on your thyroid, take as much time as necessary to plan your trip and ensure you have everything you need. Unnecessary stress can cause unwanted thyroid malfunction that can detract from your travel experience. Some find it beneficial to create a checklist in advance to be sure that their departure goes off without a hitch. By preparing a plan of attack well in advance of one’s departure the likelihood of forgetting an important detail is lowered.
2. Be Aware of Flight Conditions
Being cognizant of the environment in airplanes is an important part of properly preparing for long distance trips. In most cases, humidity in the cabin is below 20% meaning that the air is notably dryer than usual. This can cause increased skin and eye dryness in thyroid patients. Furthermore, the abnormal pressure while in flight can cause one suffering from a cold or infection to experience bleeding, pain, or even a ruptured ear drum or sinus. If you recognize your sickness prior to boarding your flight, it may be best to postpone your travels.
3. Stay Comfy
It may be tempting to try looking your best when going to a new locale but that is best saved until after you’ve arrived and settled in to your temporary abode. Especially during long trips, it is best to wear comfortable clothing. Those with thyroid conditions are typically sensitive to even moderate temperatures. Therefore, it is best to have easy access to a sweater or coat that can easily be worn or removed to fit the current environment. For those traveling by air, shoes become an important element. Swelling in the extremities is likely to occur during flight and if one’s shoes are too tight they may cause undue pain. Wearing an appropriately fitted shoe or sandals can prevent discomfort caused by swelling feet.
4. Carefully Manage Your Medications
Those with thyroid conditions frequently have a regimented schedule for taking their medications. This can become complicated when crossing multiple time zones. Therefore, take time to plan an appropriate medication schedule that adapts to the shifts in time before commencing your trip. Furthermore, keeping track of your medications, bringing an adequate amount, and having a backup strategy in case they are lost or stolen is important. All necessary prescriptions should be held within your carry-on bag for ease of access. As a precautionary measure, pack some additional medication in case of delays, as well as a copy of your prescription with your doctor’s contact information.
5. Designate an Emergency Contact
In case of accident or oversight, it is important to have a trusted individual that you can rely on to help in a crisis. This is even more important if you plan on visiting a different country. Your emergency contact should be equipped with your insurance information, contact information of your physician and pharmacist as well as any other pertinent information regarding your condition. Your contact may be the only way of reaching your medical partners if you run out of medication or have a specific question regarding your condition.
6. Find the Right Foods
Thyroid patients often require consistent meal times and may have dietary restrictions that limit their freedom regarding food options. For this reason, it is important to research the availability of appropriate foods and plan meals prior to embarking on one’s journey. Finding reliable and recognizable locations that provide food options that facilitate your needs allows you to avoid the panic and stress that comes with suboptimal diet and meal times. Alternatively, you may be able to precook healthy meals and store them at the location you’re staying. Bringing a selection of healthy snacks can also help stave off hunger and combat glucose spikes.
7. De-stress Your Trip
Perhaps the most important tip for most people, not just thyroid patients, is to allow your getaway to be truly relaxing. Many fall into the trap of packing their trip full of activities and plans that don’t allow them any time to simply enjoy their time away. Sometimes the best activity to do while on vacation is sleep. People often do not get enough sleep in their daily lives and a vacation allows them the opportunity to reset their sleep schedule and recharge. Being stressed while on vacation defeats the whole purpose and should be avoided as best as possible.
Make Your Trip Memorable
Thyroid conditions can cause enough problems in daily life without the addition of new environments and experiences. Unfortunately, these conditions such as hypothyroidism or autoimmune disorders don’t take any days off. However, that doesn’t mean one should be afraid or deterred from planning trips and enjoying them to their fullest. No matter where your adventures take you, the above methods can help ensure that your travels are not inhibited by undue worry and stress caused by a thyroid condition.