As the silly season is upon us, it’s that time of year when we pack our bags to visit family and friends or explore new exotic locations. So we thought we’d ask Prof Chris Semsarian about his tips for travelling in Australia and overseas when you have an inherited heart condition.
- Take a letter that summarises your medical condition. You can usually request this from your GP or your cardiologist. A copy of the letter from your last review is usually adequate. Some patients may also take a copy of their ECG (particularly if it is abnormal).
- Take 2 weeks of extra medication with you, just in case you are delayed.
- Keep hydrated. This is particularly important in the summer months and when travelling to hot climates.
- Take some hydrolyte / electrolyte powder (available at most chemists) with you to avoid dehydration, just in case you get diarrhoea or a nasty stomach bug. This is particularly important when travelling overseas, especially in Asia.
- If travelling overseas, consider travel insurance. Many patients once diagnosed with an inherited heart condition can find it difficult to obtain travel insurance. Each company has different rules and regulations about who and what they’ll cover so it’s best to start researching this early. Some companies will selectively insure patients for non-heart related events (e.g. if you trip and sprain your ankle whilst travelling) so it’s important to ask what you’re covered for.
- If you have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) make sure you have your ICD card with you. If travelling overseas, you might like to check your device company’s website for information on overseas clinics, in case you experience a shock while travelling.
- If travelling overseas, register with the Australian Government “Smart Traveller” website: http://smartraveller.gov.au/
THINGS TO AVOID:
- Any stimulants like cough and cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine.
- Any diuretics (unless prescribed).
- All energy drinks.
- All illegal/ illicit drugs which are all cardio toxic.
A little preparation can help put your mind, and your family’s minds at ease, so you’re free to enjoy your holiday and relax!
If you have any questions about the above please contact your regular doctor or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org