World Kidney Day is today, Thursday, March 12, and it offers an opportunity to discuss how to travel safely when dealing with kidney problems. For individuals suffering from kidney issues, travel is still very possible, and it can be a huge morale booster. In fact, many doctors encourage travel for dialysis patients, as long as their health is stable.
For many people with kidney issues, traveling can appear to be an insurmountable task and more of a pipe dream than a reality. But, it is possible to travel and have fun while getting dialysis treatments. Most patients who receive the treatments can travel safely and continue their treatments while away from home, but it is first necessary that each patient consult with his or her physician before taking a trip.
It is important to begin to make preparations well in advance of your departure date if you are on dialysis. In fact, you should start planning at least six to eight weeks in advance, according to the National Kidney Foundation. This planning includes finding a dialysis center in the location you are be traveling to as well as making arrangements for appointments while you are there. This can be difficult during high traffic periods in certain areas or if you require a specific day or time for your treatments. Work with your primary doctor to help you navigate these hurdles.
Your temporary dialysis location will need some information from you, and this information likely includes:
- the dates you need dialysis treatment
- medical history
- recent lab results
- recent EKG
- recent x-ray
- dialysis prescription with 3-5 recent treatment records
- dialysis access type
- insurance information
- a list of medications you take during treatment and at home
This information should be sent to the center for review before you arrive. It is important for the center to know as much about you and your situation as possible before your arrival to ensure the highest quality of care.
If you have kidney issues, be careful while you are traveling, and don’t go overboard! Enjoy your trip, but try not to overexert yourself. Be sure to watch what you eat and drink, and make sure that you have received any recommended vaccinations for your destination. Vacations are a time to relax, so try to do so!
Finally, just in case, make plans for backup medical care. If you are working with a dialysis center, a doctor may be assigned to you with whom you should stay in contact overseas.
For more information on dialysis and travel, see the National Kidney Foundation’s page on the subject.
For more information on which vaccinations or other travel health needs you may have, visit Passport Health’s Travel Medicine portal.