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Traveling This Summer With Psoriatic Disease

Summer is approaching and for many of us that means family vacations and trips with friends. Traveling with psoriatic disease can call for some unique challenges. Traveling can be difficult in general, now imagine doing so with psoriatic disease. The long terminal walks, heavy luggage, and flight delays can escalate joint pain. Dr. Grace C. Wright, a rheumatologist at Langone Medical Center in New York City provided tips on the best practices when traveling while living with psoriatic disease.

Pack early and pack light

Dr. Wright suggests packing early and limiting what you bring with you on your trip, “Start packing early so that you don’t have that stress on your joints to pack. Use lightweight luggage, pack only what you needed. It seems very simple, but we tend to pack more than we need. And then we have to lug this large suitcase around.” She also suggests checking your luggage as opposed to using a carry-on so you don’t have to worry about the stress of lifting heavy items into the overhead bins. Also, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

What to pack?

Dr. Wright suggests packing your medication in your carry-on bag in case of flight delays. If you are carrying on board a biologic she suggests receiving a letter from your doctor outlining the use of your injection. Also be sure to store your injection inside a cool pack so you can keep it at the right temperature. I know a few biologics that come with a cold pack case. Be sure to speak to your doctor about your options. Dr. Wright also advises carrying cold and heat packs to place on your joints when you’re experiencing a flare. You may also experience neck and back pain during long trips, “If you have inflammation in your neck and neck a pillow is often very helpful so that you have the support for your neck,” suggests Dr. Wright.

Special request

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Dr. Wright suggests asking for wheelchair assistance to help you make your way down long terminals, which can be requested ahead of time. Also, purchase airplane seats that give you extra space and allow you to stretch out your legs. These seats may cost you a few extra bucks, but your health is worth it. Young people with invisible diseases involving joint pain can often be discriminated against and may be less likely to ask for help, “If you don’t look deformed, people assume that your joints couldn’t possibly be hurting, but that’s not true. So really it’s about standing up for yourself and insisting that you do actually need that help,” shares Dr. Wright.

Be sure to move around

Are you planning a road trip? Dr. Wright suggests the following, “Stop, get out and move around. Be sure to stretch every few hours because stiffness is really a hallmark of inflammation and can occur as you’re sitting for long periods.” Dr. Wright also advises wearing loose fitting clothing and comfortable walking shoes when navigation the airport terminals, sitting in cars for long periods, and throughout the duration of your trip.

Dr. Wright leaves us with some final thoughts, “Talk to your rheumatologist ahead of time, plan and get everything ready. Get your vaccines, get your medicines, Change your attitude and say, ‘I’m going to have fun. I’m going to enjoy this.'”

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.