If you are going away this summer remember to take at least double of your usual amount of medical supplies. The majority of Stoma Healthcare companies can now provide you with a travel certificate which is translated into a number of different languages which also includes information that security officials need to know about your medical appliances and can help you get through airport security with minimal amounts of stress as it can be a nerve wracking process when you have an ileostomy / colostomy bag.
I personally always give my travel card which I obtained through my stoma nurse to the security official before I put my items into a tray and before I go through security screening just so the rest of the team know that I have a medical condition. I have also had to be searched even though I declared that I had an ileostomy under my t-shirt but unfortunately due to security now being so tight around the world I was asked to have a more in-depth search with a female security officer. Understandably this can seem intimidating however I have to say that they do deal with the situation with total respect and are discreet and dignified. When completing another search, this should always take place in a side room alongside another security official of the same sex. Please don’t feel that you are being picked on because you have a medical condition it is just unfortunate that in the world we live in today, security guards have to be extra cautious ensuring that everything is 100% safe.
I want to be sat near to the toilets on the aircraft what do I need to do?
Anybody who has suffered from IBD / Bowel Cancer or any other bowel related disease will feel the need to know where the nearest bathroom is and to be situated in close proximity especially during a long flight.
When checking in for your flight notify a check in member of staff and they can try to re-position you nearer to the bathroom facilities due to the nature of your medical condition and for peace of mind. You can also check-in 24 hours before online with the majority of airlines these days and can therefore personally choose where you want to sit.
Will my stoma bag inflate during the flight?
Stoma bags are now very advanced and are tested and checked in high and low pressure situations to ensure that they are comfortable for the patient, therefore your stoma bag will stay intact for the flight without it inflating.
Can I carry my stoma supplies in my hand luggage?
The travel card which you can now obtain from your healthcare provider or stoma nurse advises the items of which you can take on-board during a flight this does include your stoma scissors. I personally would always advise that you take the majority of your supplies in a separate suitcase or holdall on-board the aircraft in case your suitcase goes missing once you reach your destination.
Travelling by car over the holiday season:
Many of us will know that the roads can become chaotic over the Christmas period with hours of traffic jams to sit in, therefore once again I would advise that you bring extra stoma supplies if you are travelling to stay with friends or relatives. Perhaps ensure that you have some disposable bags with you in your vehicle in case you have to empty your bag at the side of the road or in the vehicle as you never know if you’re going to be stuck in the traffic for hours with a full ileostomy / colostomy bag and you don’t want to end up having a leak due to a full bag. I know this isn’t always a likely situation but it is always good to prepare for the worst. Stopping at service stations during your journey is always advised to empty your appliance frequently.
Days out over the holiday season:
It is a good idea, if you are out for the day, to always carry a spare set of stoma supplies either in the car or with you, so that you can deal with any issues and then carry on with your day rather than having to return home, I would also always advise that you always take or have a spare set of clothing in your car in case of any leakages.
Ostomates should receive a radar key from their stoma nurse or healthcare provider which can be used for a variety of disabled toilets across the UK.
The use of disabled toilets can often be useful for when and if you need to change your appliance as these toilets are better equipped with bins, mirrors and wash basins along with being more spacious to move around in when changing your appliance.
Checking out toilet facilities in an unfamiliar area before you need them will help to give you peace of mind. If one is not suitable you can find another before an issue occurs. It is always useful to carry some spare toilet paper and wet wipes in your bag in case the toilet facilities are lacking.