How Difficult Is It To Travel For People With Sleep Apnea

How Difficult Is It To Travel For People With Sleep Apnea | HealthSoul

People who have sleep apnea know that it can ruin their traveling dreams. It is estimated that up to 20% of the population experiences some form of sleep disorder at some point in their lives, including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorder. Sleep apnea can make traveling seem like a distant dream for many since they need to carry bulky machines with them wherever they sleep. Nevertheless, there are a few suggestions that might bring that dream closer to reality.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is sometimes called obstructive sleep apnea because the airway is blocked during sleep. To be diagnosed with sleep apnea, the doctor will measure the person’s Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI). This is a measurement of how many times during the night you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds. It is a severe sleep disorder characterized by the temporary cessation of breathing during sleep. While this temporary cessation is only a nuisance to some, it can have devastating consequences for others. As a result of sleep apnea, you are at a higher risk of heart attack, strokes, and it can put your life in danger. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness due to interrupted breathing while you are asleep. Sleep apnea affects over 22 million Americans, and many more are still undiagnosed.

How Can It Affect Travel?

While it might not affect your everyday life, it can put a dent in proceedings if you want to travel anywhere long distance. This is because the machines needed to regulate breathing throughout the night. These are often bulky and need to be set up in a specific way. Furthermore, if you travel anywhere outside of the USA, you will need to remember to bring along a converter to reduce the worldwide 220 v to the US 110 v system. Nevertheless, many people will carry a travel CPAP machine with them, which is a smaller and more convenient device. When you go away on vacation, there is always a part of you that wonders if you should bring your CPAP machine or if you need it at all. The good news is that with the machine designed for travel, you can get a good night’s sleep anywhere, regardless of the noise, the humidity, or the temperature.

What Can You Do To Make Traveling Easier?

Fortunately, it is possible to not only travel but to enjoy it and not worry so much about your health by following a few simple steps.

How Difficult Is It To Travel For People With Sleep Apnea

Preparation Is Key

As with anything to do with traveling, you should plan as much as possible. For most people, this might mean a few weeks in advance, but those suffering from sleep apnea may need to take a little longer. Some of the things you will need to consider are similar to how others will plan, but there are some apnea specific things you should consider:

  • Luggage and packing: You should ensure that your luggage is an adequate size to accommodate your machine. Although travel machines are smaller and lightweight, they will still take up more space. Furthermore, you will have to pack intelligently, so you don’t go overweight and have to pay a premium.
  • Which country you are visiting: Some countries will have climates unavailable to those with sleep apnea. This can include environments that are extremely dry and dusty which have an aggravating effect on the airways.
  • Access to medical facilities: Depending on how severe your condition is, you might want to consider countries that have better medical facilities. For example, if your condition is on the more serious side, then booking a holiday to rural Zimbabwe might be a bad idea.

Get In Touch With Your Airline Ahead Of Time

CPAP machines tend to contain appreciable amounts of metal and, when packed away tightly, can resemble something more sinister. This can be incredibly frustrating when traveling via air due to the scanning of luggage. This is further compounded in countries with little knowledge of sleep apnea and where you might be subject to questioning. However, most of this can be averted by merely talking to your airline in advance. It is sometimes possible to get a special card to show security personnel at the various airport checkpoints that will inform them what you are carrying. In addition, you might need to use the machine when flying, so checking if this is possible beforehand could alleviate some hassle onboard.

Think Smart When Packing

Anyone who travels understands the importance of packing well. However, if you have sleep apnea, you will have to be even more thorough. Some packing requirements you will need to keep in mind include:

  • Adaptor: As mentioned earlier, different countries use different voltages in their electrical grids. Therefore, to prevent your machine from becoming destroyed, you should pack this item. You should pack several just in case. These adapters can often be difficult to find outside of specific shops, so you want to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality.
  • Empty the humidifier: This is a practical bit of advice and involves remembering to empty the water from the humidifier section. If you forget, you could find your belongings covered in water which is not great if you carry other electrical devices.
  • Bring a backup battery: Although this can be an extra hindrance, it could be worth it. This will depend on how well you have planned your trip and where you will be going.

Ensure You Have A Copy Of Your Prescription

It would be best if you kept your prescription with you while traveling. Firstly, you will be able to prove your luggage’s authenticity if you lose it. Furthermore, if the machine breaks down while you’re traveling, you will be able to show your prescription to shops that sell these devices. It is far more straightforward than having to explain things. You can also find out which suppliers are available where you intend to travel by asking your current CPAP provider.

Traveling when you have sleep apnea can seem like a daunting prospect, but it needn’t be. With some pre-planning, intelligent packing, and the correct device, you will find the perfect trip is within your reach.