Heart Failure and Holidays – Upset Stomachs
As you know as a Heart Failure patient you are more susceptible to catching stomach upsets and colds. Serious illnesses are spread by contaminated food and water. In places where water is unsafe to drink stick to the boiled or bottled varieties, don’t brush your teeth with tap water and avoid ice cubes. Also I know this goes against nutrition advice but only eat fruit and salads that you have peeled and washed yourself and also steer clear of foods that look as though they have been left out for a while.
Follow these simple guidelines and you should be ok – always pack an imodium just in case.
Just as a footnote, remember if you do get diarrhoea you lose a lot of water then for during the duration of the diarrhoea increase your fluids.
Heart Failure and Holidays – On the plane
The risk of DVT is real and you should be aware of how to combat it but also as a Heart Failure patient it is important to move about.
Deep Vein Thrombosis is caused by a blood clot in a deep vein and it usually manifests itself in the leg. Part of this clot can break off and travel to the lungs which can be fatal. Travel related DVT can occur after a long haul flight. To reduce this risk, walk around on the plane a couple of times an hour and regularly flex and extend your ankles and calves whilst seated. As a Heart Failure patient it is also a very good idea to keep your heart pumping oxygenated blood around therefore a stroll down the pain and some ankle movement will keep your cardiovascular system in tip top form.
Heart Failure and Holidays – Don’t forget your Pills
As a Heart Failure Patient you will take regular medication therefore make sure you have a list of all your medicines and dosages, get your clinician to complete this for you.If you need a doctors note to fly then get the list and dosages included in this Make sure you have twice the amount of tablets you actually need just in case of another ash cloud event. We would suggest that you split your medication between your hand luggage and hold luggage for obvious reasons.
Just a little tip. With the letter highlighting all the medication and dosage information, photocopy or scan it down to A5 size, fold it 3 times and put it in your wallet as this generally accompanies you everywhere. You can never be too safe! therefore if you need it when you are out on a boogie you will have it to hand if it is needed.
Heart Failure Patients preparing for their holidays
It’s not as straight forward as it looks and it’s a good idea to get your carer involved with the preperation of your Holiday. Ok it’s not rocket science but in our opinion it is better to be prepared than not. Whether you are going on a domestic holiday or you are flying away somewhere you should do some research and always involve your carer.
Research tips -
Contact your clinician and check you are ok to fly and visit the country you want to go to. Check the airlines policy on you flying and if you have insurance check it is valid or whether you need a doctors note?
What’s the temperature?
What is the climate like? is it humid or is it a dry heat this can make a big difference
Medical facilities? what do they look like
Take into consideration what your carer thinks dont just be gung ho
Accomodation – make sure it is accessible for you eg steep walks and lot’s of stairs?
Make sure you are not too remote, it’s better to be close to facilities than a long walk
Assess the type of holiday, cruise, coach tour, beach, adventure etc etc this always creates a physical demand and if you know your capabilites then you will make the right choice for you and your carer.
Once you have assessed your ability for your holiday we would suggest you take the following notes into account and use it as a checklist -
- Get your Doctors note – Get your Doctor to include in that note all your current medication, include doses and generic names as well. This is very important as what your drugs are called in the UK maybe and probably are different from your destination. For example
- An anti-arrythmic drug is called and prescribed in the UK as Dronadorone however it is not called this all over the world as it is marketed as Multaq“. Another example is the Beta Blocker which in the UK we know as Bisoporol but the genetic name is “Zebeta“. If you don’t understand then make sure your doctor notes it down on your prescription list.
The reason for the doctors note is that if you get admitted to hospital then they know exactly what you are taking. For example the delays many people had over Icelandic ash cloud.
Take double the amount of prescribed drugs you need so if you are going for 1 week take 2 weeks worth of supplies – don’t forget any supplements you take as well, treat them in the same way. An example of this is the delays many people had over Icelandic ash cloud.
Use tablet holders to reduce the space whilst you are packing. Take empty flat pack pill boxes becuase of easy identification
If you take warfarin then take your yellow book with the recorded INR levels – this is an international standard and will be understood.
If you are on diuretics you may find that you get very thirsty if you are going to a destination that is hot it is important to keep yourself hydrated however you need to be careful you don’t drink too much fluid, remember alcholic drinks will dry out in even further. Take an atomiser, fill it with water and when you feel thirsty spray your mouth.
Make sure you take the appropriate sun tan lotion with an effective SPF value, I take a minimum of an SPF 30 lotion.
Take a first aid kit and in that kit take your usual pain killers, most Heart Failure patients cannot take anything other than a parcetamol/co-codamol based pain / fever reliever. Very very important don’t rely on local facilities at your destination. Be prepared and prepare well.
These are just snippets of information so keep watching pumping marvellous over the next 10 days as we will be posting lots of useful information