Wound care when traveling
It’s almost summer and vacation time is drawing near. There are many persons living with chronic ulcers or wounds to the feet or other parts of the body, and no doubt they also want to travel and enjoy their vacation. Having a wound does not have to stop this. Further, you can never predict when injuries or wounds may happen, even while on vacation.
The following are tips on how to care for wounds when you’re away from home or traveling.
Follow instructions: It is best to discuss your travel plans and activities with your doctor. Follow their instructions for care on when to change the bandages and what to do and not do. For example, if they instruct you to not wet the wound you would not be able to go swimming. Take precautions to protect the wound. Participate in other activities and have lots of fun even if you cannot swim.
Stock up before you go: Do not leave home without packing a carry-on bag including all prescriptions you’ll need including your wound care supplies. This may include first aid basics such as bandages, sterilizing wipes and antibiotic ointment or other wound care cream; over-the-counter medications; and copies of health insurance cards. It’s best to carry the supplies on with you in case you need to change or reinforce your bandage while traveling or if your checked luggage is lost for a few days.
Be aware of airport security rules: Remember liquids, aerosols or gels should be in containers that are three ounces or less and packed in a transparent, quart-sized bag to go through security. It may be best to pack liquids like saline wound cleanser in your checked luggage or to purchase it at your destination. Also, remember that sharp items like scissors to cut bandages cannot go. So, you should plan by cutting extra bandage at home and putting them in Ziploc bags or use pre-cut sterile bandages such as island dressings or gauze. It is best to tell security you have a wound, so they can do special screening that does not require you to remove your wound bandage and expose the wound to bacteria.
Wash your hands: When you are ready to change your bandage while traveling or at your destination, you will be ready to change your bandage. First step is to wash your hands before touching the wound. When you’re traveling, you could come into contact with numerous sources of infection during the course of a day. So, when you go to dress the wound, you risk transferring germs to the wound. If you don’t have immediate access to soap and water, you should carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
Dress the wound: Finally, care for the wound just as you would when you are at home. Place a clean towel on the area where you are changing the bandage. Clean the wound using saline and gauze, apply antibiotic or other wound ointment and cover it with a gauze or bandage. Keep the wound covered and the bandage clean. Do not get the foot or bandage wet and follow all the instructions from your doctor.
Many people are living with chronic wounds, but they don’t have to prevent you from traveling or enjoying your vacation. If you need more information visit www.woundsource.com or www.foothealth.org or email us at email@example.com.
• For more information or to see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996; or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820; or email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.apma.org.