If you suffer from gout, there are special precautions need to be made before you fly on a plane. The last thing you want is to be on a crutch or wheelchair while on vacation. Make sure to follow these tips when traveling with gout.
How to Deal With Gout While Traveling
1. Book first or business class
Most economy seats have less legroom than you’re comfortable with so you may want to consider booking a seat in first or business class as these seats tend to have bigger spaces where your legs can stretch better. If economy is the only option, ask if you can be transferred to rows at the beginning of the cabin as these seats tend to have bigger legroom in them too.
2. Get moving during a flight
Flying on a plane set the perfect stage for a gout attack. You’re in an enclosed space for hours where it’s cold and barely any legroom. A gout attack during a long flight are two of the worst things to happen; you want to avoid it as much as possible. That’s why it’s important to get your body moving.
Walk along the cabin aisle and stretch your legs. If you’re at a stop over, walk around instead of sitting by the lounge. If you forgot to bring your medicine, take this opportunity to look around for pharmacies that sell them. The movement helps keep the circulation going and prevent uric acid from crystallizing.
3. Don’t get cold
Your feet are the coldest parts of your body. If it gets any colder, uric acid can crystallize leading to a gout attack. This is the same reason why most gout flares happen at night because it’s when temperature is at its lowest. If you find yourself getting cold, especially your feet, put on a pair of socks or two to keep them warm.
4. Drink lots of water
Flying can be dehydrating due to the aircraft cabin not having enough humidity inside it. You don’t want to get dehydrated during a flight so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip. And no, tea, coffee, or wine does not count. It can be tempting to take advantage of the free alcohol but for the sake of your foot, skip it and just drink water.
Before you board your plane, make sure you’re well hydrated too. Sure, you’ll be making frequent trips to the bathroom because of it but that’s a good enough excuse to get your body moving.
5. Communicate with the flight attendant
If you’re having a gout attack, let the flight attendant know and they might just be able to have a doctor for you if there is one on the flight. Also, if you forgot your pain killers, ask if they have any pain killing medicine on the plane preferably indomethacin or voltaren. Avoid aspirin as this can actually make your gout worse. It increases uric acid levels in your blood and it might interact with your other gout meds.
6. Bring your meds and prescription
Bring the meds you need for your gout. This includes the prescribed medicine by your doctor such as allopurinol, colchicine, NSAIDs, and some painkillers. Some anti-inflammatory drugs can cause stomach upset so keep that in mind too when packing up meds for travel. If your doctor prescribed a uric acid-lowering drug that you need to take long-term, make sure that you are consistently taking it even as you’re traveling.
Some airports can be very strict with luggage and might not allow you to bring your medicine during the flight. To avoid this, make sure to bring a prescription from your doctor. If you must leave behind your medicine, do your research and find out if your destination has pharmacies that sell the medicine you need.
7. Avoid temptations
If you’re on vacation, it can be tempting to feast on food you’ve never tried before. Unfortunately, such luxury cannot be enjoyed without consequences especially if you have gout. It’s hard to notice when you’re having a novel experience but remember, just because you’re in a new place it doesn’t mean your condition has changed. You still have gout and certain foods need to be avoided to prevent gout attacks. If you’re not sure how your body will react to a certain food item, best to avoid it altogether instead of risking turning a vacation into a nightmare.
It also helps to do research ahead of time. Learn what common foods are available in the area you’ll be traveling to. That way, you’re better prepared and know exactly what alternatives to get should you be faced with sinful options.
8. Plan ahead
Traveling can be stressful. The long queues at the airport, carrying heavy luggage, going through seemingly endless scans, sitting for long periods –it the perfect recipe for stress! And do you know what one of the trigger of a gout attack is? STRESS! While the realities of traveling cannot be changed, there are certain things you can do to minimize the stress that you experience. It helps to plan ahead of time so you’re not running around the airport in a rush.
Go to the airport early, preferably an hour earlier. You never know if something might cause a delay such as traffic, unexpected changes to gate locations, etc. Have your quick remedies ready such as your apple cider, cherry juice, banana, epsom salt, baking soda. Whatever it is, have a travel size version of it ready in your carry-on incase anything happens. You don’t want to get a gout attack at possibly one of the most stressful times.
Once you arrive at your destination, go to the nearest grocery store and get anything else you need whether it’s additional meds or remedies.
Before your next big trip, remember these strategic tips and you should be flying with gout without any problems. With some preparation, you can enjoy your trip without the worry that your symptoms will show up.
What other tips do you recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments.