While it presents challenges, it’s possible to fly with cystic fibrosis if you plan ahead and carefully follow all the important safety guidelines. Those with cystic fibrosis should not let concerns about travel keep them from taking a vacation or traveling to see loved ones.
The following looks at some of the issues those with CF should keep in mind as they plan for their trip. Whether they do the trip on their own or travel with a flight nurse, these ideas can help better prepare you to fly with cystic fibrosis.
Can I Hire a Nurse to Fly With Me?
Talk to Your Medical Experts
Most people can safely fly with cystic fibrosis. However, some may require carrying oxygen with them. High altitudes can make it more difficult to breathe, especially for those with CF. Your CF health team may want to conduct a high-altitude test to determine if you will need to travel with oxygen. This also is the time to find out the closest CF care facility to your destination.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation provides detailed information on traveling with medication and medical equipment. All medications should get packed in their original containers with clear labels. It’s wise to bring a few extra days of medications in case luggage is delayed or lost. Bringing an extra prescription also provides a backup plan in case your supply runs short.
If you must keep your medication cool, you will need to bring an insulated medical ice pack on the flight. Also, call ahead to your hotel and ask for a refrigerator to store your medication. They sometimes do not charge for this service if they know in advance it is for medication.
Flying with Oxygen & Medications
Those who fly with cystic fibrosis need an extensive list of health documentation. This includes the following.
- A health summary your doctor signs that provides an overview of your health. It should include your name and date of birth, contact information for your CF care center, known allergies, list of medications and daily therapy.
- Any documentation you need to carry oxygen on your flight. The forms required vary from airline to airline, so it’s important to contact them well in advance and find out what you need.
- If you plan international travel, you may need a customs certificate from your doctor explaining why you need the medical supplies you have for your journey. This should include your name and date of birth, a description of CF, list of your medications, and all medical supplies you have packed for your travel.
- If you plan to visit a theme park, you may need documentation to get a special pass that allows you to skip long lines. You can find out what you need by contacting the theme park in advance.
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Packing Medical Supplies
You should make a list well in advance of the supplies you need for your trip. This should include oral and inhaled medications, vest, nebulizer compressor, neti pot, nutritional therapies and devices (such as a glucose monitor, needles, testing strips, alcohol pads and instruction manuals).
Other items to consider when packing:
- Emergency contacts
- List of doctors who specialize in CF at your destination
- Insurance information (including travel insurance)
- Prepaid phone card to contact your own CF center in case of emergency
- Instructions for medical equipment in case of malfunction
- A calendar of times and details on taking your medications to help those with you if needed
Medical Travel Insurance vs Trip Insurance
During the Flight
Always bring medical equipment onboard your flight, do not attempt to check it. Airlines should not count needed equipment against your allotted number of bags you can carry on a flight. Keep in mind, however, that it must fit under the seat or in overhead storage. Ask to pre-board a flight so you can store all needed supplies without the crush of other passengers. If you have all proper documents, you should have no problem getting everything through airport security and onboard.
Other things to keep in mind during your flight include the following.
- Keep medication with you, including insulin and supplies.
- Watch our sugar levels, and have carbohydrates with you to prevent hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Let your traveling companions know the signs of a drop or spike in blood sugar
- Bring snacks with you on your flight, as well as glucose tablets
- Stay hydrated and limit alcohol consumption. Add a pinch of salt to water, or drink energy drinks with salt supplements
- Use diet supplements to ensure you eat the right amount of calories
Some Activities That May Pose a Risk
When thinking about where you want to fly and what you can do when you get there, the CF Foundation provides a list of activities that could pose a problem. They include bungee jumping, which causes rapid pressure changes in the lung, as well as scuba diving and spending time in Jacuzzis or hot tubs. Keeping these ideas in mind can help you safely fly with cystic fibrosis. While it takes a great deal of planning, it pays off in being able to enjoy travel, knowing you have taken all the proper steps.
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Deciding whether it’s time to move your Mom or Dad out of their current home is one of the hardest decisions adult children must make. One of the first steps is going through a list of issues as you begin your search to find assisted living for family and ensure it’s the right move to make.
For those just starting out, the choices may seem overwhelming. The steps below can help start your search and put you on the path to finding the best options for your parents.
Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home
One of the first items to check off your list is learning the difference between assisted living and nursing homes. Both offer valid long-term care options. The difference comes in the type of care provided and the needs of residents.
A nursing home provides a higher level of around the clock medical care for seniors. Those who live there need more help with day-to-day activities and often have health issues that require more intensive care. Seniors may have individual or shared rooms.
An assisted living home is more like an upscale apartment building for seniors where most residents have individual rooms. They have access to medical care and get help with daily activities, if needed. Meals, laundry and housekeeping is provided. There are common areas where seniors can join others for meals and activities.
What is Air Travel Assistance for Seniors?
How To Find Assisted Living For Family
Most seniors who need to move from their home start by moving into an assisted living facility. Answering the following questions can help you zero in on the assisted living homes you need to visit.
What Is the Cost?
Determine what your family can afford each month. Also, check insurance to see if they will cover any of the costs. Most families pay for assisted living with personal savings, pension payments and retirement accounts. Government agencies can provide support for those with little or no money.
Long Distance Medical Transport Cost
What Do Parents Want?
Parents and their children should have a talk at the start of the process to find out what the parents want out of assisted living. That makes it much easier to match their desires with the right home. This can become a tough conversation if parents remain in denial about the need for care, so choose a quiet time and start by expressing your concerns and feelings about their wellbeing.
Do They Need to Relocate?
In some cases, parents may decide on a retirement relocation so they can live closer to their kids and grandkids. This is often the long-term best choice, but involves planning on packing, moving and looking into safe, medical transport for your parents.
Retirement Relocation Tips
Finding the Right Homes
Now that you know your budget, what your parents want and where they will live, it’s time to identify homes that ticks all the right boxes. Read online reviews and make sure all homes you consider have the proper licensing. If available, check with local government or nonprofit agencies in your area that offer advice on choosing a care facility.
Taking a Tour
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) suggests keeping a host of issues in mind when you tour a home. One of the most important is to speak with administrators, staff and residents to get a feel for what it is like to live there.
They also suggest taking notice of the following.
- The cleanliness of the home
- Whether there is an emergency generator or alternative power source
- The size and number of common areas
- The size of the room and whether it will meet your parents needs
- The presence of handrails and call buttons in rooms and bathrooms
- The presence of security systems, fire systems, and safety locks on doors and windows
- Amenities at the home such as exercise, a beauty salon, a café or banking
Moving parents or other family members into a care home is a hard decision to make, but one that can improve their lives once completed. Taking a step-by-step approach can make it easier to find assisted living for family. It also can help your parents feel more at ease about making a big change in their lives.
Can I Hire a Nurse to Fly With Me?
Consider Consulting With a Care Manager
Care Managers have considerable expertise in all things aging. Unlike Senior placement specialists who may have conflicts of interest Care Managers work exclusively for their client and are focused on the their best interests. They can provide guidance on in-home care, and if placement is needed the level of care appropriate. The Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) website has resources on their website and is an easy way to find a certified Life Care Manager.
What is Aging Life Care™?
From frequent flyers to travel newbies, everyone can use a site that shares ways to increase air travel points and find great airline deals. The best airline travel blogs to add to your bookmarks include The Points Guy, One Mile at a Time, Johnny Jet, Loyalty Lobby, Airline Reporter and Airline Geeks.
For those looking for medical travel resources and tips, Flying Angels provides an in-depth library of articles, videos and podcasts that offers an insider’s perspective you will not get anywhere else.
Medical Travel Resources
Six Of The Best Airline Travel Blogs
Over the years, the best airline travel blogs have proven again and again that they stay on top of the latest flight deals, airline perks and methods to get the most out of frequent flyer points. They are required reading if you want to stay on top of hidden ways to make the most of your travel dollars.
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The Points Guy
Brian Kelly, who writes The Points Guy, ranks as the premiere travel writer when it comes to getting the most from frequent flyer and credit card points. The site offers news on travel deals, advice on the best credit cards for travel, and destination guides and reviews. If you have time for only one of the best airline travel blogs, this one is it.
One Mile at a Time
Blog author Ben Schlappig logs more than 400,000 miles per year in air travel. He simply loves flying. Also, like The Points Guy, he keeps his eye out for ways to get the most bang out of your airline miles and credit card points. He posts reviews of places he visits and the latest airline news.
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John DiScala, also known as Johnny Jet, started by helping friends find travel deals. Then, as more and more people wanted the information, he launched his own site. Since then, it’s grown into one of the best airline travel blogs. “Johnny Jet” travels to about 20 countries per year. He shares travel stories and offers advice on how to travel in style while on a budget.
A great site to find the best loyalty programs offered by airlines and hotels. The site’s main writers are a trio of travelers who log hundreds of thousands of flight miles each year. They offer travel tips with a focus on the latest deals offered through hotel and airline loyalty programs. You can also learn which ones offer the best service at your destination.
Medical Transportation Options Explained
Airline Reporter offers complete coverage of the airline industry and travel. The site features 35 writers in 25 cities on four continents. The site includes daily updates on airline news, travel deals and all things related to aviation. It’s a must-read for those who want to keep up with what is happening in the airline industry.
Like Airline Reporter, Airline Geeks offer news from around the world on airlines, including travel deals. You’ll also find first-hand accounts of travel, advice on all things travel-related, and exclusive news stories. Readers have ranked these six sites among the best airline travel blogs for years for good reason. Each provides vital information you can use to make your next trip as good as possible while staying within your budget – and grabbing a few perks along the way!
TSA Travel Tips for Disabled Travelers
Medical travel companions fly with travelers who need assistance to complete their journey. They make the trip from Point A to Point B easier for those with injuries, disabilities and older travelers who want support when flying to national or international destinations.
Adult children also often hire medical travel companions to fly with their senior parents who might have some physical limitations or who may simply get confused or uneasy with the hustle and bustle of the airport and airplane.
While many types of medical travel companion services are available, making the journey with a flight nurse provides travelers with a trained medical professional who is highly skilled in providing medical care on commercial flights and for those who need a long distance ambulance.
Can I Hire a Nurse to Fly With Me?
The Benefits of Medical Travel Companions
People with medical conditions cannot always make flights on their own. Having a flight nurse or medical travel companion gives those who need support during air travel a number of benefits.
In the case of flight nurses, each one is experienced with working in emergency situations, making them able to handle whatever situation might arise. They also have earned certification for providing medical services at high altitudes.
Many flight nurse companies can also make trip arrangements. This includes ground transport to and from the airport, assistance through the terminal (including security) and ensuring all needed medical equipment and medications travel with you.
Overall, the biggest benefit of a medical travel companion is the peace of mind of knowing you have professional, caring assistance for your journey.
TSA Travel Tips for Disabled Travelers
Who Needs a Medical Travel Companion?
Medical travel companies can provide vital support in a number of situations.
As people age, running the gauntlet of lines, security checks, ticket kiosks, and crowds of people hustling quickly through the terminal and at the gate can become overwhelming. A flight nurse can make the process much less complicated, providing a steady companion who guides you through every step along the way in the airport. They also take away any concerns about the handling of medical equipment and prescription medications (including remembering to take them when required).
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Traveling with a broken arm or leg, especially if a wheelchair is required, makes air travel difficult even for the youngest and healthiest of travelers. A medical travel companion can navigate the journey for you while also ensuring that your injury receives proper attention.
Get Help Leaving the Hospital After Discharge
Those with disabilities typically become experts at getting through whatever life throws at them, but travel can provide a particularly strong challenge. A flight nurse can provide assistance when needed and also contact airport officials ahead of time to work out any special arrangements involving equipment or security.
For those who become ill or get injured while on vacation, a flight nurse can make the journey home much easier, including handling communication with medical personnel, even those in other countries. Clients can engage the services of a medical travel companion for domestic and international flights. Whatever your reasons for wanting a flight nurse with you, they can make your journey much less stressful and ensure you arrive at your destination safely while attending all your medical needs.
Medical Repatriation vs Evacuation
About four billion passengers buy tickets to fly every year. That’s an astounding number of people, and it shows how popular air travel has become. However, most of those who take flights are unaware of air travel facts that might answer questions such as: Why does my food taste funny? And why is there an ashtray in the bathroom?
To give people some answers – and supply them with fun facts to reveal the next time conversation starts to lag during a social occasion – we offer the following air travel facts. They include surprising information about the history of flight, the design of the plane, and where crew members disappear in mid-flight.
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Why Food Tastes Strange on a Plane
Many people complain about the taste of airplane food. However, they fail to give enough consideration to the fact they are traveling at 500 miles per hour in a pressurized cabin at around 30,000 feet. The dry air at that altitude, combined with the low pressure that causes a reduction in the sense of smell, impacts the function of taste buds. Studies have shown that your ability to taste drops as much as 30% on a plane. Airlines typically compensate by putting more salt and sugar in food, which makes things taste just a bit off. Also, the loud noises on a plane can impact taste buds, inhibiting the ability to taste sweet food.
What Should I Eat Before a Flight?
The Captain Is In Charge
Once you leave the ground, the airplane captain assumes a great deal of authority. For example, they can order the crew to restrain a passenger or do so themselves. The captain typically keeps handcuffs for this very purpose. It’s a last-option choice if they feel a passenger is putting the crew or fellow passengers into danger. While they can’t make an official arrest, they can call ahead to have local law enforcement ready to meet them when they land.
Some Planes Have Secret Bedrooms
While passengers stretch out in their seats on long flights, some planes (such as the Boeing 777 and 787) have a secret stairway that leads to a small number of windowless bedrooms. This allows crew members to get some sleep and re-energize, or take a power nap, without getting disturbed. In some cases, some rooms are set aside for the exclusive use of pilots. While designs differ, most planes have the crew sleeping quarters directly behind the cockpit, above the first-class seats.
The Safest Spot on a Plane
It’s important to understand that air travel is the safest form of travel. According to statistics, you are about 19 times safer flying in an airplane than you are traveling in a car, something most people do every day. However, if you are curious about the absolute safest place to sit, studies from Time and Popular Mechanics found that those at the back of a plane had a higher percentage chance of surviving a crash. But here’s the real takeaway: there are so few crashes that it makes it difficult to build a reliable data set on the safest seats.
What Is The Best Seat on an Airplane?
Pilots Prepare for Bird Strikes
As anyone who read about the 2009 Miracle on the Hudson knows, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed a plane on the Hudson River after Canadian Geese took out both engines on the plane. That’s an example of the training pilots go through to handle bird strikes, which sometimes (but rarely) can damage a plane’s engine. Pilots are taught to fly with one engine until they can safely land. Capt. Sullenberger faced an even more dangerous situation but still handled it like a true professional.
Why You Still See Ashtrays in the Bathroom
Smoking hasn’t been allowed on airplanes since 1990. But still, if you visit the bathroom, you will find an ashtray. Why? Federal regulations still require them. The thinking goes like this: while smoking is banned on an aircraft, some people may still try to sneak a few puffs in the bathroom. In those cases, it’s better to give them a place to put out their cigarette than gamble with the risk they might set the plane on fire trying to put it out on the floor, wall or in the trash can.
Can You Fly With COPD?
Round Windows Keep You Safe
Engineers design round windows on planes for a very good reason. In the 1950s, early commercial planes exploded in air because of square windows. With squares, the four corners were weak spots that became strained with repeated pressurization, and in some cases, they cracked, leading to the fuselage breaking. Round windows have eliminated that problem.
Who Developed the First Jet Planes?
While the Wright Brothers got the first plane in the air at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903, that flight lasted 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet, shorter than the length of a Boeing 747. The development of passenger jets and the revolution that brought to travel came from Europe. The Germans debuted a jet-powered plane in 1939 and flew jets during World War II. After the war, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland developed the first commercial jet using engines he designed called the Ghost and the Comet. The British Overseas Aircraft Corporation started the first jetliner commercial air service on May 2, 1952, when the 44-seat de Havilland Comet 1A began making flights between London and Johannesburg, South Africa. These are eight air travel facts that many people may not know. Keep them around for social occasions or for the next time you want to surprise people with some interesting flight facts.
5 Ways to Improve Senior Air Travel
No matter what reason you have for taking a flight, you don’t want to step off it feeling sluggish and bloated. On the other hand, you also don’t want to exit the plane feeling ravenous. That leaves you with a conundrum: what should I eat before a flight?
Some excellent suggestions are listed below. Of course, to some degree it’s up to the individual person. Some people simply prefer French bread to pita bread, or a banana to an orange. Choose accordingly. But every item on the list should leave you feeling full (but not too full) and ready to get on with whatever business (or pleasure) brought you to your destination.
We’ve also thrown in a few suggestions for what to eat after a flight just in case you’re running late and didn’t get a chance to eat before boarding.
Fun Things to Do on a Plane
What To Eat Before a Flight
Before understanding what you should eat before a flight, it’s important to understand why you might feel a bit out of sorts in the first place. When a plane reaches high altitude, the air pressure in the cabin causes gas to expand. In some cases, it might expand as much as 25%. No wonder you might feel uncomfortable!
But these light meals avoid excess amounts of sugar or proteins that might cause a problem, instead focusing on complex carbohydrates that burn slowly. Keep in mind that small amounts are better than big amounts. In other words, eat less than you think you need.
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Fruit and Smoothies
Bananas are a great way to start the day, even those you don’t spend at 35,000 feet. They are loaded with potassium, which means they can help you avoid leg cramps during the flight. An orange is high in vitamin C, helping keep your immune system strong. And a fruit smoothie can accomplish all that and give you a tasty beverage, as well.
Small amounts of natural peanut butter or almond butter will keep you feeling full for a long period of time. They have the advantage of filling you up with a small amount. A small portion of almonds, walnuts or peanuts can do the same, both before and during the flight.
Making a sandwich with bread that you picked up at the bakery, such as French bread or pita bread. A small amount of hummus with pita will leave you full. With warm French bread, you can dip it into a bit of extra virgin olive oil for a tasty, filling meal that is bland and won’t upset your stomach.
This is especially smart during the flight. Water fills you up. It also keeps you better hydrated at high altitudes. Both will leave you feeling better when the plane lands. Avoid caffeine, as it dehydrates and may leave you unable to sleep during the flight.
Considered a grain but actually a seed, quinoa is a wonderful food that goes with almost anything. You can pair quinoa with fruit for a healthy pre-flight meal, or with chicken if your flight is later in the day. It fills you up with plenty of protein, but not enough to leave you feeling bloated. Brown rice can play the same role if that’s what you have on hand.
Don’t get fancy or take chances if you find yourself pressed for time. Simply eat some crackers – low salt crackers if available. What crackers lack in culinary fireworks they make up for by being benign and filling.
What Is The Best Seat on an Airplane?
What To Eat After a Flight
If you’ve kept hydrated during the flight and ate one of the foods listed above, you should arrive at your destination feeling well. Remember to avoid coffee and alcohol, as they will dehydrate you. Avoid salty snacks as well.
Once you’ve landed, you can regain energy by having some green tea. A banana is also good post-flight, as is a bit of dark chocolate. Both can relax the muscles. Another winner are antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries or grapes. A bit of protein also can elevate your energy (and mood). If you’re on the go, a good nut butter spread on crackers or yogurt and nuts can get the job done. Consider these foods as the answer to “what should I eat before a flight?” Hopefully, some of these foods sound good to you and will keep you feeling well and full (but not too full) before, during and after your flight.
Why is Flying Scary?