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Traveling with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis

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You don’t have to avoid vacationing just because your child has Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.  To help families prepare, our IBD team put this checklist together to help families when traveling abroad or here in the US. Maintaining your child’s daily regimen will help keep symptoms at bay and help your family to have an enjoyable trip!

Traveling with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis

Inform him of your destination. He can suggest names of providers in that location and provide a written plan of action in case you need medical attention while away.

You may not be able to receive certain vaccines depending on what medications you are taking (and no live vaccines if you’re immunocompromised).

You may need to refill some of them prior to leaving. Carry these medications with you at all times (do not place in checked luggage if you’re flying). If your medications require refrigeration, carry them in a cooler and inform flight attendants and the TSA.  You may also want to ask your doctor for a letter describing your medical condition and what medications you are taking.

If you’re traveling abroad, you may want to look into international medical insurance.

Your necessities may include things like extra toilet paper and/or wipes, ointments, extra underwear, hand sanitizer, anti-diarrheal medications, and high calorie nutritional supplements.

If flying with an ostomy, there is a TSA notification card that can be shown to TSA prior to your security screening and informs them of your medical condition. You may also want to carry an ‘I Can’t Wait’ card that can assist with using public restrooms.

It’s especially important to stay well-hydrated while you’re traveling. And if you’re headed out of the country, drink bottled water or water that has first been boiled to avoid potential symptoms.

Avoid the same food triggers that you would at home. And if you are unsure of a particular food, it’s best to play it safe and not eat it.

Have a plan for what to do if symptoms begin and where the local doctor is located. Consult a physician for high fever, shaking, chills, profuse bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, dizziness, or signs of dehydration.

If traveling outside the US, know the language and how to say things such as toilet, bathroom, urgent, emergency, and pharmacy. Download an app that translates languages.

When you get home, report any abnormal symptoms (fever, pain, rash, bloody diarrhea) that your child had over the trip to your primary doctor and GI doctor if indicated. We hope you and your family a safe and enjoyable trip!

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