Friday, May 16, 2014

Sjogren's Syndrome and Travel

We call our SUV The Behemoth. I'll wave as we drive by. 
John and I are putting the final touches on our packing in anticipation of our let's-drive-until-our-butts-and-brains-are-numb adventure. Ahhh. Love it. Can't wait.

I'll bet that many other sjoggies are looking forward to vacation outings this summer. In view of us all hitting the road or the skies, I thought it timely to write a post listing some tips and advisories for travelers. So here you go:

MedlinePlus published by the National Institutes of Health has an excellent compilation of travel health and safety tips for all ages. You can find it here.

The Centers for Disease Control also offers a wealth of information on their travel site here.

For Sjogren's specific travel tips, the SSF has created a Patient Education Sheet on airline travel:

Patient Education Sheet Tips for Airline Travelers with Sjögren’s

You should always know the latest travel rules before packing for your next airline trip!
As an invited member of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) Disability and Disease Coalition, the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation has been fortunate to play an important role in educating officials about the special needs of Sjögren’s patients. TSA policies apply to all domestic and international flights originating in the U.S.
TSA Guidelines and Tips for Travel

  • You may place in a separate pouch all prescription and medically necessary OTC items to take with you on the plane.
  • Include all OTC items needed on your trip including eye drop; saline solutions; ointments; gels and lozenges to lubricate the eyes, mouth, nose or lips; gum; special toothpastes and sunscreen.
  • Medications in daily dosage containers are allowed.
  • While the TSA states that items do not need to be labeled, consider using original prescription bottles and packaging when possible to avoid questions.
  • You no longer need to have a doctor’s note or prescription or information explaining why you need your items.
  • Pack medically necessary products in a clear bag separate from other carry-on items to make inspection easier and faster. X-rays will not damage medications.
  • The bag or pouch containing these items may be of any size.
  • Either place the bag to be X-rayed or request a visual inspection if you prefer.
  • Wait to purchase water if at all possible after you’ve gone through security. Or, bring an empty water bottle, and when you board, ask the flight attendant to fill it or ask for a bottle of the airline’s water.
  • Bring sugar-free candies, lozenges, gum and/or juicy fruit on board to stay moist. Foods in original containers are allowed through security and on the plane.
  • Use nasal saline a couple of days before flying and on the plane.
  • If you take Salagen® or Evoxac®, ask your doctor about taking it before boarding.
  • Carry a wet washcloth in a zip loc bag to place on your eyes or use special humidifying goggles such as TranquileyesTM (an airline attendant can provide hot water). Bring moisture chamber glasses if you have them.
  • If taking an immunosuppressant, consider wearing a mask over your nose and mouth.
  • Always check out the latest information at, or call your airlines before traveling – especially if you are traveling internationally.
  • A new service, TSA Cares, is now available specifically to help travelers with medical conditions and disabilities. Contact their office 72 hours ahead of your scheduled travel for answers to your questions. Call the TSA Cares Help Line at 1-855-787-2227, email, or visit their site online here.
  •  In addition to a bag with medicines and medical products,you are allowed a single, one-quart, clear zip-lock bag with any liquid, gel or aerosol in containers marked three- ounces or smaller and placed separately on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening.
  • The TSA states that you may bring water or other liquid through security if your medical condition requires it. You must, however, declare the liquid to a Transportation Security Officer and be prepared to provide information from you or your physician about your condition and why you need it. Allow plenty of time for additional questioning and testing.

For more information on Sjögren’s syndrome contact the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation at:
6707 Democracy Blvd, Suite 325, Bethesda, MD 20817 • 800-475-6473 • •
Clinicians: Please make multiple copies of this Patient Education Sheet and distribute to your patients.

Happy trails, everyone. And don't forget your sunscreen.

1 comment:

Heda said...

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday. PS thank you for the number anti-robot tests that I can do first go!