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Travel and Chronic Illness

Travel and Chronic Illness

Unless you don’t travel at all, you are eventually going to face the challenges of traveling with chronic disease or illness. Whether it is hep C or some of the things it can cause, you probably know what I mean. Whether you travel for work or for fun, it can be hard. I know. Air travel is no picnic these days, with all the walking and waiting, not to mention the cramped space we are asked to be in for hours at a time.

Car travel

Car travel may be limited in terms of distance, but for some of us, it can be challenging as well. Whether we are the driver or a passenger can make some difference, but each vehicle has it’s own limitations, depending on our level of need. For example, if you suffer with hepatitis C related neuropathy, or another neurological illness or condition, almost any position can in time cause you discomfort and pain.

There is no shortage of self-help books and articles that are filled with tips on travel, and travel aids. Some will have great ideas on how best to manage travel barriers and issues. By all means, seek out some tips. You may find the one that speaks directly to your unique situation, or more common solutions. I will not delve into that here, because what works for me, as limited as it is, may be useless for you.

Coping with fatigue

Discomfort can be physical, as well as emotional, like with fatigue. However, our ability to tolerate pain, or any other difficult situation, is no measure of our strength of character. Again, as I often say, we are all different. From my personal experience, it varies from time to time, and depends on my level of tiredness, or the exhaustion I sometimes feel when traveling a lot. Changing time zones can add an extra burden to how well we recover. Sleep is important, and disrupted sleep compounds discomfort or pain.

Rest is singularly the most important thing for me. Any environment can have a cumulative effect on fatigue, and this is when I struggle most. If you fly often, you’re familiar with the lines and the never-ending waiting. Getting rest is challenging in an environment filled with loud public announcements, busy crowds, and over stimulating surroundings. If you are one of the lucky people who can catch some sleep, even if only short periods, it may help. I know that this has helped me.

Being prepared

Make sure you have all of your medications with you, and any other personal items that help you to relax. The tension of others in crowded spaces alone can make for more added discomfort. Anything that helps you chill or distract you is helpful, at least for me. There is no secret or simple solution. Some of us will simply avoid travel altogether, and if you have a medical condition that makes some forms of travel dangerous or just off the table, that is different. However, if you can travel and want to, it opens up possibilities you may otherwise miss out on. Good luck!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.