Your ability to fight infection is an important factor when you are thinking about travelling. Your immune system can be slow to recover or never quite get back to full capacity and this will be evident in the number of infections you have over your transplant journey. However there will come a point when you feel well enough to go away on holiday and its then that some careful consideration needs to take place.
For your first holiday don’t travel too far so that you can get home fairly quickly if you need to. It can feel a bit worrying leaving home for the first time so take that into account. Your clinical team can advise you how your immune system is doing. It is possible that the team may not be able to confidently say that you are “safe” to travel often leading you to be disappointed and frustrated.
While it is important to be safe you need to have as normal life as possible, so speak to your team as there may be safer places which pose less risk to yourself.
Possible worries are:
- Sharing swimming pools/saunas.
- Recycled air on your flight.
- Getting insurance.
- Food hygiene.
- Being ill in a foreign country where facilities could be reduced or turn out costly.
- Getting you home safely if you are ill.
- If you are travelling within the European Union (EU) the European health insurance care entitles you to free or reduced cost emergency treatment. You may have to pay for the treatment and reclaim the cost when you return to the UK.
You should have been part of a vaccination programme starting from 3- 12 months post transplant. Speak to your nurse specialist regarding this. For holiday specific vaccinations as long as they are not ‘live’ it should be ok to have them but you must discuss it first with your clinical team.
- Take more tablets than you need in case of delays
- Keep them in their boxes so you know what they are for if stopped by security
- Ensure you have all important telephone numbers including your insurance company
- Ensure you have a good sunscreen and hat
- Be aware that your heat tolerance may have changed