Travelling with a catheter

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Stay hydrated, positive and remember to love the skin you’re in!

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Travelling with a medical condition in itself can be tricky but when you use a medical device, it can feel even more daunting. In the nearly 4 years that I have had Cathy the Catheter, I have only travelled abroad once but travelled within the UK many times.

There is no right or wrong way to prepare yourself when going to another country but, preparation is key. I have a few tips for going abroad with a chronic illness and/or a catheter. Here they are;

1. Before you do ANYTHING write a list of items that you need. Even go as far as writing the amount of each item you need, this way you can tick off from the list as you begin to pack. If you have a friend or family member who knows lots about your condition and what you need to manage it then ask them to go over the list to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

2. Pack as early as you can. I am an awful last-minute girl and that’s when things get forgotten. Since having my catheter, I’ve started packing around a week before. Packing your suitcase and hand luggage in advance gives you leeway to remember items or if you don’t have something, you have time to order supplies or pop to the shops.

3. When it comes to catheter supplies make sure you pack more than you would usually need. There is nothing more frustrating than running out of supplies, let alone being stuck in a foreign country with no idea how to get hold of more. If anything, I probably over pack as I pack ‘what I need’ and then add around 3-5 spares of each item, but I’d rather be safe than sorry!

4. Download and print your travel certificate. This explains that you have a medical condition and need to carry medical supplies in 11 languages. Simply, hand it to airport staff if you need to discreetly explain that you have a medical condition.

5. When it comes to medication, if travelling by plane, I’d pack a whole box of each medication into my hand luggage that way I know I won’t run out and if my suitcase gets lost, I will still have my medication. When putting medicine in your hand luggage, make sure it is in its original boxes with your details on.

6. Take a list of your medications with you. I find it best to create a note on my phone and give a paper list to the person I’m travelling with. That way, if I need to urgently get medication while I’m away, I don’t need to scramble around to find a box with the names or should I be very unwell, the other person knows which medication to give to me.

7. Find something that makes you feel your best and most comfortable. A holiday is a time for you to relax and I know it can be nerve wracking heading out to the pool with the fear that you may be judged. So, whether it’s a new swimsuit or a cover for your leg bag, find something that makes you feel amazing and allows you to replace negative thoughts about your body with positive ones!

8. Pop a hot water bottle and an ice pack in your bag, these two items that are great for abdominal or urethral pain, but something that are quite hard to find in a foreign country, if you don’t know where to look.

9. My final tip is to make sure you have health insurance; you never know what may happen and it’s better to know you’re covered. Always read the T&C’s to make sure your health needs are covered if an emergency was to happen.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful, and they’ve made holiday prep a little easier for you.

Stay hydrated, positive and remember to love the skin you’re in!

Love ya!

Tayla x

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    by Tayla Collison- Childs