14 August, 2019
Sponsored post by Convatec
Packing for holidays
So it’s time to pack, but just how much do you take? What else do you need to consider? We have a few suggestions for you.
Top Tip 1 – Before you start to pack – lists and supplies
- Before a holiday, make a checklist of all the items and equipment which will be required, e.g. baseplates, pouches, accessories ,disposal bags, etc.
- Calculate how many products would be needed normally for the days of your holiday and add half the amount again.
- If you are planning a holiday outside of the UK, it is very useful to have a letter from a doctor, stating that you are carrying stoma supplies as a medical necessity.
- Take an up-to-date prescription list, which details all medicines being carried – handy should you be stopped at check-in, security or customs, and are faced with embarrassing questions.
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Top Tip 2 – Packing your essentials
- Regardless of where you are off to, packing all your stoma appliances/equipment in clear plastic bags (e.g. freezer or sandwich bags), so that they are less bulky than in boxes, is a great space saver for your luggage and will keep everything organised when you reach your destination.
Top Tip 3 – Small travel kit
- In addition, it’s an idea to prepare a small travel kit and keep it in your hand luggage so that it is with you at all times and within easy reach.
Top Tip 4 – Flying
- There are restrictions on liquids, gels and aerosols taken on board a plane. It is recommended to store these items within their original containers, whenever possible. Scissors must be packed in the luggage which goes in the hold.
- It is always advisable to request an aisle seat near the toilets so that it is easier to go to the toilet regularly to empty or check a pouch. This is where your separate, small travel kit can make trips to the toilet discreet and uncomplicated.
- Many people with stomas prefer to use a drainable pouch, as it is often easier to empty the pouch in the plane toilet, than trying to change and dispose of it. In addition, a drainable pouch can be useful when travelling around and there is no access to disposal bins.
- When flying, your pouch should behave as normal. However eating and drinking sensibly before and during the flight will lessen the chance of wind in your pouch.
- Provided that there is a charcoal filter on the pouch, wind should not be a major problem.
Top Tip 5 – Hot Weather
- Changes in climate and environment may mean more pouch changes may be needed. Your stoma may be erratic for the first few days, following the intake of different foods, etc., but this should settle down.
- If you’re holidaying in a hot country you should keep appliances in a cool bag (the soft canvas kind) or any other cool, dry place.
- Even with a stoma, it is perfectly fine to sunbathe within normal limits. However, it is best to ensure that the stoma is covered, since excessive heat may have a negative effect on products, sometimes causing them to work incorrectly.
Top Tip 6 – Hydration
- Hot weather can lead to dehydration. If you feel excessively thirsty, the chances are that dehydration has already occurred, and it is very important to increase fluid intake. Isotonic sports drinks are very good since they also replace the essential salts and sugars, which will have been lost through sweating.
Top Tip 7 – Out and about
- Along with your travel kit, have two spare clothes changes at all times – one to change into and the other for peace of mind.
Top Tip 8 – Phrase cards
Phrase cards assist travellers abroad. These give translations of useful phrases such as:
- Where is the local doctor?
- Where is the nearest chemist (hospital)?
- Where is the nearest toilet?
Top Tip 9 – Avoiding an upset stomach
A few sensible precautions may help prevent an upset tummy. Always eat foods which have been well cooked and, in hot countries, avoid foods that have been standing for long periods of time, especially burgers, sausages, shellfish, etc.
When abroad, be very wary of the water supply. Whether it’s cleaning your teeth or washing your stoma, only use bottled or cooled boiled water.
Top Tip 10 – Emergency supplies and World Assist Alliance
When on holiday, either in the UK or abroad, it is comforting to know that there is a system available to help if there are any problems with your stoma supplies.
Prior to your holiday, it may be possible to find out about stoma associations or where additional supplies can be purchased in the proposed holiday area.
This post was paid for by Convatec, other stoma bag services and appliances are available. Colostomy UK are impartial and do not recommend one brand over another, always consult your stoma care nurse. We are not responsible for the accuracy/services of third parties.