Ask the Nurse – Ostomy and Traveling

I'm going on a trip to Holland next month and am concerned with airport security and the length of the flight.  What are some ways I can keep myself out of an embarrassing situation?

Airplane travel and airport security cause anxiety for many people especially those traveling for the first time with an ostomy.
Change your appliance at least 24hours prior to the day of departure.  If a pouch is going to leak, it will usually do so within the first 24 hours of changing.  Empty your pouch before boarding the plane and empty every 1 to 2 hours during the flight.  The airplane restrooms are small but usable.  A filtered pouch may benefit the colostomate or ieostomate automatically venting and deodorizing gas and equalizing pressure in the pouch.

If at all possible, precut all your pouches at home (or purchase precut pouches from your supplier) so you don't need to carry scissors on board.  Pack your ostomy supplies in at least 2 places,  carry on and checked luggage.  Take twice as many pouches as you believe you will need.

A statement from your physician stating your need for ostomy supplies may be helpful especially for advocating a private area in case of an extended body search.

When traveling to foreign countries, critical ostomy information (brand name and product numbers) should be written in their native language.  Contact the International Ostomy Association for help with translation as well as locating supplies while visiting the country.

More information is available at www. uoaa.org

Happy Traveling,
Nurse Jan