Making holiday travel manageable for those with chronic health issues | State News


Holiday stress is a concern for most people, but when you mix in travel plans and chronic health issues, those worries might be elevated. A Minnesota expert says now is the time to ensure a safe and healthy trip this season. Whether you’re flying to a warmer destination or driving a few hours to a relative’s house, Doctor Mary Boylan with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth says preparation is vital for those with a chronic health condition like heart disease or being at risk of stroke. To start, she recommends you check in with your doctor to find out if you’re healthy enough to travel. If so, getting the logistics down should be the next priority.

  :16  “It’s really easy to think, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna fly here, fly there and forget about the details.’ So, if we can take those actual itinerary items off the table and have arranged to have a cart, if we need a cart, to get us to our gate – that’s a really good step.”

Safely transporting medical devices, such as portable oxygen machines, is another priority. Boylan recommends checking with transportation agencies and companies about their policies for storing and screening them. Having enough medication is important, too. And if you’re traveling to another time zone, experts suggest you talk with your doctor about adjusting your medication schedule.

Boylan also is president of the American Heart Association’s Midwest Region Board of Directors. She says when you get to your destination, having fun is the goal, but don’t feel like you have to go beyond your comfort zone.

  :12  “And we should really build in downtime. You know, it is a very, very good thing to – in the middle of the day or before the end of the evening – just settle down have a little time for peace.”

She says that can help to keep blood pressure in check amidst all the travel and activities you’re trying to squeeze in. Other tips include locating nearby health facilities during your trip, and for long flights, wearing compression socks to prevent blood clots.

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