For people learning to live with urinary incontinence, traveling with catheters can be one of the greatest adjustments. Some inherent logistics, as well as a great deal of misinformation, contributes to a feeling of inconvenience or uneasiness when patients consider the prospect of travel. However, with some good information and a reasonable degree of caution and preparation, patients need not feel daunted by the prospect of traveling with urinary catheters.
Keep it Clean
Hygiene is one of the chief concerns regarding travel with urinary catheters. The availability of sterile restrooms or areas to catheterize, as well as the general risk of bacteria in unfamiliar settings, can create problems if not properly prepared. Patients should use hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes as the first line of defense, to keep their hands as clean as possible and sterilize any surfaces needed to catheterize.
Patients should make certain, in the case of overnight travel with urinary catheters, to bring enough extra supplies for at least 1-2 days, just in case unforeseen circumstances extend their trip. This includes extra lubricant and any other supplies required to catheterize. By being overly prepared with regards to supplies, patients will be more likely to catheterize as often as needed.
Traveling by Air
By far the greatest number of questions patients have with regards to travelling with urinary catheters arise pertaining to the subject of travel by airplane. Due to TSA regulations regarding checked and carry-on luggage, proper handling of fluids, and screenings, the prospect of flying can be a source of great anxiety for patients with urinary catheters. However, with proper knowledge and preparation, patients with urinary catheters can find flight to be no more stressful than any other means of travel. The first proactive step for patients to take is to contact their airline and make them aware of their condition, and see if any particular concessions are made for patients with catheters, and if documentation is required.
For carry-on bags, you must place all liquids of 3.4 oz or less in a one quart-sized, clear, plastic zipper-lock bag. If applicable, this would include sterile water packets. TSA does have certain concessions in place for medication, which catheters and their supplemental products can be considered, but again, it would be wise to check with the airline in advance regarding documentation. For patients utilizing lubricant, make sure it is in 3.4 oz or less containers, and is properly bagged and secured. If patients pack their luggage properly, and communicate with both TSA and airline employees clearly and discretely, a great deal of inconvenience can be prevented for all parties involved.
Look Into Other Catheter Options
Many patients taking extended or more complex trips while using urinary catheters will choose to opt for a different type of catheter in order to streamline this experience. For extremely long flights, patients can inquire about an Indwelling, or Foley catheter, so there is no need to continually catheterize during their trip. The need to catheterize less often will also limit opportunities for patients to encounter less than ideal hygiene conditions while catheterizing, limiting the risk of infection. Some patients will even opt for a closed catheter system for travel, as this will dramatically lower the risk of infection when catheterizing, though the insurance and Medicare guidelines for this system are very stringent and patients should adequately research and discuss this option with their catheter provider, like Aeroflow, beforehand to see if they qualify.
Travel is an important business undertaking, as well as a relaxing and rewarding recreational opportunity for millions of people. Use of a urinary catheter system should not be a barrier to this important and enriching activity. Call Aeroflow Healthcare today at 844-276-5588 to speak to one of our trained representatives or visit us online at catheters.aeroflowinc.com. Together, we can dramatically improve your quality of life and keep you happy and healthy the world over.