Patient Blogs | COPD
What It Takes to Travel With COPD
man standing in airport

Traveling is so much fun! I love going to new places and seeing exciting things. Walking around and experiencing a new world (needing a breathing treatment), changing up my normal routine (forgetting to take my meds).

Traveling can be an amazing relief from the daily grind, a great escape from everything. But when you live with a chronic health condition like COPD -- you take it with you.

I'm pretty excited. I'm getting ready to go on a vacation and I can't wait. Soon I'll be packing my bags for sun and sand, a bathing suit for the beach, a dress for a night out to dinner -- and a nebulizer for breathing treatments.

That's right, my COPD doesn't stay home, so this little piece of medical equipment has to come with me. I've tried going without it. It seemed bulky and heavy in my luggage, and to be honest I felt embarrassed about having to take it, so I left it home. Boy did I regret it! I had so many issues during that vacation that I considered going to the ER just for a breathing treatment. I learned then not to leave my medical necessities at home anymore, no matter how it looks.

When flying, I've never had any problems going through TSA with this odd-looking device in my luggage. I guess they must be used to seeing medical equipment like that. But I did get pulled aside once to look at my meds, so be sure to have yours in their bottle with the prescription label on it.

Fortunately, my COPD isn’t advanced enough that I have to travel with oxygen, so I don't know airport policy for traveling with it. If you have to travel with oxygen, a preflight call to TSA might be a good idea. I've also read that there are some risks involved in flying for those with more severe COPD, so I’d recommend a preflight checkup with your doctor.

Travel with COPD can be safe and still extremely enjoyable, but some other chronic conditions might require a little extra attention. Be sure to do your research beforehand so you can be fully prepared for every step along the way. Talk to your doctor to make sure your body is ready for the conditions you’ll encounter as you travel and at your destination. Most importantly, know your body and listen to what it tells you with honesty and caution.

When you have a chronic condition, a little preparation can mean the difference in a good or bad experience. I wish you the best trip, with amazing memories. Just remember that your health condition goes with you. Prepare accordingly and you’ll be more likely to have a great time.



Photo Credit: Virojt Changyencham / Moment via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Katie Willingham

Katie Willingham

Diagnosed since 2016

Katie Adsila Willingham is an HIV advocate from rural north Alabama who has been living with COPD for 15 years. After years focusing primarily on her HIV diagnosis, Willingham is embarking on a journey to better manage her COPD. She blogs for The Well Project's A Girl Like Me, is the Alabama state lead for the Positive Women's Network USA, and is a U=U ambassador with the Prevention Access Campaign.

Latest Blog Posts From Katie Willingham

Planning Your Future With COPD

Planning Your Future With COPD

I've got to admit, this is a depressing subject and a difficult blog to write, because COPD is a progressive condition with no cure ...

Read more
What I Learned From Accepting My COPD Diagnosis

What I Learned From Accepting My COPD Diagnosis

Sometimes a diagnosis can be a frightening and life-altering event. In a mere moment, your whole life can change. The question is how you deal with that change ...

Read more