Travelling can be an exciting and happy time and with careful planning most patients with well controlled myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) can travel safely. Always check first with your haematology team.
Take a supply
Make sure you that have enough supply of all your medications on hand to cover your needs during the entire length of your UK holiday or stay abroad. Plan ahead to allow time to fill your prescriptions and allow extra time for any weekends or holidays when the pharmacy may be closed, prior to your departure or when you return.
Take a list of your medications and their dose
If you do run out of medication whilst on holiday in the UK you may be able to attend an NHS walk in centre who can organize a consultation with a GP or you could contact a GP practice directly but obviously they will not be as familiar with your medical condition or be able to supply some drugs, such as interferon. Medications may have more than one name, the drug/generic name and the brand name, so it’s a good idea to keep a record of the generic name, just in case you do need to re-stock whilst away.
Keep your medication close by
If at all possible, pack your medication in their original packaging, in your hand luggage. You may need to check whether there are any restrictions on medications that you can take into particular countries. If so you will need to obtain a letter from your consultant stating they are necessary for your health.
Keeping medications cool
Some medications, such as interferon, need to be kept at the correct temperature, so do plan to keep such types of medication with you in your hand luggage in small cool bags and it’s also advisable to check with the hotel whether there will be a fridge in the room or somewhere secure to keep medications cool.
Take a letter
If you are travelling with liquid medications or with needles, it’s advisable to get a letter from your consultant stating why you are carrying these medications, and that liquid medications must be hand-carried, not placed in the hold luggage to avoid the risk of freezing.
Restrictions on some drugs
Some countries may limit the amount of certain drugs allowed into or out of the country so it’s advisable to check with each country’s High Commission or Embassy regarding certain drugs, e.g painkillers like morphine. As above, a letter from a medical professional, with details about your drug requirements is advisable.
Pack with care
Pack any injections in a suitable container to avoid bending needles during travel. It can be helpful to bring a sharps bin with you so that you have a place to store used needles.
Wear a tag
Obtain a medical tag if you feel it may be necessary to identify your illness clearly in case of accident or unexpected illness.
Plan your equipment
Sort out any necessary equipment you may need whilst on holiday such as oxygen or inhaler pumps. You can travel with up to two items of mobility equipment free of charge and this is not included in your baggage allowance but you will need to let the airline know 2 days ahead of your flight about them and any help you may need.
Ask for help
if you have mobility restrictions or need extra help at the airport e.g wheelchair/disabled facilities/checking in etc, talk to your travel company or airline to arrange this ahead of arriving to travel.
Protect yourself from the sun
Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, usually 11am to 3pm. Use high-factor sun cream and wear protective clothing and a hat. Some MPN treatments may make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Be alert to the need to stay hydrated on flights and when travelling to sunny climates. Drink plenty of water while travelling to prevent dehydration. You can take other steps to prevent DVTs, such as wearing pressure tights/socks and avoiding staying too sedentary during the flight.
Inform the airlines
Inform the airline when booking your flight if you need disability aids and help during the flight.
Know where to find help
When you arrive at your destination, check where the local medical centre is in case you need to use it.
Travel and Insurance Guide
You can download our travel and insurance guide here, which includes details of insurance companies who have provided insurance cover for people with MPNs, all cases are assessed individually and MPN Voice cannot guarantee that they will provide insurance cover.