Being diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency disease (PI) doesn’t mean you have to stay home. It is best to consult with your physician if you are traveling, especially if you are traveling abroad, but with a bit of planning you will be on your way.
Medication and Supplies - Medication and supplies should be packed where you can easily access them during all times when you are traveling, usually in your carry-on when traveling by air. Ask your immunologist if you should bring antibiotics or other medications in case you become ill. They will be allowed through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint once they have been screened. Keep your medications in their original containers. Your healthcare provider should write a letter of necessity for medications such as immunoglobulin and infusion supplies you bring on a plane. The TSA offers a notification card that can be used by travelers with disabilities or medical conditions. Please note: the TSA Notification Card does not replace a letter of necessity written by your physician. Click here for a sample letter of medical necessity. You can learn more about travel from the TSA website:
- TSA Notification Card: https://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/disability_notification_card_508.pdf
- Air Travel with Medications: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/what-expect-if-passenger-needs-medication
- Air Travel with Medical Supplies: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/medical
Emergency Plan - Carry a copy of your In Case of Emergency (ICE) report from the IDF ePHR with you. Ask your immunologist for the name and contact information of a medical facility or immunologist in the area to which you are traveling, or call IDF and we can help.
Nutrition - No one wants to become ill when they are away from home. Consider the following additional precautions to keep you well.
- Drink bottled water.
- Make sure meat, poultry, shellfish and fish is completely cooked.
- Fruits and vegetables should be washed or peeled.
- Rest as much as possible when traveling.
Ask your immunologist if there are other precautions you should take regarding food, beverages or other issues that are important to your care while traveling.
Insurance - Always carry a copy of your insurance card. If you are traveling out of your state or to another country, contact your insurance company regarding coverage. Determine whether you should receive additional coverage. The International Medical Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers provides impartial information to travelers on vaccinations, health risks and food and water safety advice for all countries: http://www.iamat.org/
Immunizations - When traveling outside the U.S., consult with your physician regarding whether you should receive additional immunizations. General information for travelers is available at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_4971.html
For more information about travel while on treatment from therapy manufacturers and specialty pharmacies, see the following links:
- Traveling with Infusion Therapy
- Traveling with PI
- Traveling While on Therapy
- Travel made easy with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD)