Managing Holiday Travel with Multiple Sclerosis
With the year-end Holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start making travel plans. Whether you are traveling to see family, seeking warmer weather, or looking forward to snow-covered vacations, traveling with multiple sclerosis (MS) can add to your holiday stress.
Although short-term increases in your daily routines and travel are unlikely to trigger an MS relapse, prolonged stress lasting days or weeks can cause symptoms to worsen. Thankfully, careful planning and these helpful tips can help you enjoy your holiday travel.
Watch the Video Managing Holiday Travel with Multiple Sclerosis
See Your Doctor Before You Travel
Before leaving for your holiday destination, schedule an appointment with your treating physician. If you are traveling abroad, ask your doctor to write a letter explaining your condition and a list of all medications you will take with you.
If you need to refill your prescription, this is the perfect time to do so. Also, schedule your infusion therapy around your trip to ensure you don’t miss a treatment session.
Tell your doctor about any new or worsening symptoms you are experiencing and ask for advice on what to do should you relapse while traveling.
Plan Your Trip Carefully
Holiday travel can be hectic, and we’ve all experienced delays and detours. Careful planning can help you avoid some of these inconveniences, but you must prepare.
For example, take extra medication in case you have an extended travel delay. If you are traveling by road, make a list of alternate routes and places to stop and rest.
If you plan to fly, request the airline for assistance if you have difficulty walking. You can also request seats with more legroom and special meals if you require them.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Pack
The National MS Society estimates that nearly half of MS patients will develop cognitive dysfunction, affecting their ability to organize, focus, and maintain or shift their attention.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, a simple way to overcome this is to give yourself plenty of time to pack your bags. First, make a list of all your medications. Then check this list before you leave to ensure you have all of them. Finally, remember to pack your meds in your carry-on so you will have them handy when it’s time for your next dose.
Making lists is a great way to relieve yourself of the stress of forgetting something. Your list should include adequate clothing, shoes, personal care products, travel documents, and gifts for your family and friends if you are taking any.
Remember to stay hydrated during your travels. Carry a refillable water bottle in your car and during your walks. Also, limit your alcohol consumption during the holidays, as alcohol can dehydrate you.
With all the delicious foods around the holiday table, it’s easy to forget your dietary needs. While you should not deprive yourself, making sound food choices will make you feel better in the long run.
Carry healthy snacks while traveling, so you don’t have to resort to junk food. It’s also helpful to remind your host of any dietary restrictions you have so you can avoid awkward situations
Having MS should not prevent you from enjoying the holidays. A little planning goes a long way in reducing stressful situations that can lead to an MS relapse.
Make sure to delidcate time each day to doing something you enjoy and also rest.