Traveling with Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a lung disease characterized by a build-up of scar tissue that affects the normal functioning of the lungs. The formation of scar tissue leads to the thickening of pulmonary passageways and obstructs the passage of oxygen through tiny air sacs (alveoli) into the blood stream. This obstruction makes it difficult for a person to breathe.

As breathing becomes difficult, it can affect people’s ability to travel or enjoy a vacation. However, traveling can be made easier with some preparations.

Portable oxygen concentrators

If you are traveling by plane, it is important to keep your portable oxygen concentrators handy because most commercial airplanes fly at more than 7,000 feet, and the air pressure in the cabin during the flight is reduced and can make breathing difficult. Having supplementary oxygen on board can help regulate breathing.

However, make sure that you plan in advance to have the airline company provide you with supplementary oxygen devices. If you already use such a device, you can get it from your current provider. But do inform the airline company well in advance of your travel or carry your prescription with you when traveling. In many countries you can even rent portable concentrators if you can’t afford to buy one.

It is advisable that you carry portable oxygen concentrators even if you are traveling by car or other means of transport. This is because you may need oxygen when you drive through high mountain passes or elevated areas.

Knowing if it is safe to fly

The first thing that you should do before traveling, especially by air, is to undergo a High Altitude Simulation Test (HAST). This test will help you determine if it is safe for you to travel by plane. It will also help you determine the amount of oxygen you may need to carry when traveling.

Watch your salt intake

While traveling, we tend to eat frequently in restaurants or hotels. This may make it difficult for you to keep an eye on your diet and control your salt intake. Therefore, it is advisable that you have a plan in advance about how you are going to deal with the excess salt in your diet. The best way to do this is to eat well and order only foods that are low in sodium.

Traveling with pulmonary fibrosis may be difficult, but it’s certainly not impossible. It is important to choose your travel destination wisely. For example, going on a cruise or planning a beach vacation where you can sit back and relax at a low altitude could be a better choice than a vacation in the mountains.

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

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