When you have been used to traveling freely without a care in the world, it can be difficult adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate a swallowing disorder. Dysphagia is a medical condition that is quite literally hard to swallow. There are many ways you can learn to cope with this condition, but dealing with dysphagia while you are on the go can be difficult. Here are a few top tips to help you travel with dysphagia.
Prepare for Your Mode of Transport
Whether you’re planning to drive across the country, are going on a cruise, or jetting off to an international destination, make sure you prepare well for your journey. Road trips can be managed by preparing easy-to-consume foods and snacks beforehand. Make healthy purees, creamy milkshakes, and refreshing smoothies to enjoy along the way. Depending on the distance, you can invest in a car cooler to keep your supplies fresh. When it comes to traveling with a dietary restriction, many cruise lines offer guests plenty of choices—just make sure you alert them as soon as possible so that they can cater to your needs.
Flying with Dysphagia
Flying can be trickier than driving or cruising. Do your research on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules and regulations with regards to the approved foods you can take aboard.
3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption
Although there are restrictions to the amount of liquids, gels, and aerosols you can take with you on your trip, the TSA allows people with disabilities and medical conditions to take a larger amount. Liquid medications don’t need to be carried in a plastic bag, but they do need to be screened separately. When going through customs, remove them from the rest of your belongings and declare them to TSA staff for inspection.
Get Your Documentation Ready
Travelers with a medical condition or a disability can print out a TSA Notification Card to help them travel with necessary liquids and medication easier. In addition to the card, official medication documentation from your doctor may also help make the process go smoothly.
Plan Your In-Flight Meal
If your flight provides in-flight refreshments, go online and make your selection in advance. Once onboard, confirm your selection with the cabin crew. This will ensure you get the most suitable food and drink options for your dietary needs. If you are flying for a longer period of time, take meal replacement packets or instant food thickener sachets with you just in case. Simply Thick is a food thickener that can be added to hot and cold liquids. They thicken food without clumping, and they come in 12g packets, making them easy to travel with.
When you suffer from a swallowing disorder, one real risk when you travel is dehydration. Getting enough fluid in your system can be difficult enough at the best of times. When you are on the go, it is easy to forget to drink. Try to prepare a pre-thickened beverage ahead of time and carry it with you in an insulated bottle.