Tips for Traveling with a Pacemaker
You’ve checked in for your flight, confirmed the Airbnb and packed your suitcase. You’re all ready to go – right?
Individuals with hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart failure and heart disease are at a higher risk of requiring hospitalization if infected with COVID-19. If you have a pacemaker or a surgically implanted defibrillator (ICD) it’s important to take the following precautions before jetting off for your summer vacation:
- Talk with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for travel. Address any concerns you might have in advance.
- Develop a contingency plan in case you need to seek medical attention while travelling. Make sure to ask your doctor for referrals of out of town medical providers and keep a list of phone numbers and addresses handy.
- Pack copies of your prescriptions along with any medications you might be taking. It’s best to have at least a week’s worth (or more) depending on how long your trip is. Make sure these essentials are in your carryon luggage – just in case your checked bag gets lost!
- Carry your Medical device ID card with you. In case of an emergency this card provides medical personnel with key information about your device.
- Let the TSA agent at security know you have a pacemaker or implanted device before going through the scanner since some of the metal parts might set off alarms. Be cautious of airport security wands as these could temporarily impact your device. Ask the agent to move over your device area quickly or, if you are more comfortable, opt for a hand search.
- While in flight, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If it’s a long flight, doing simple leg stretches or ankle rotations in your seat will help keep your circulation steady
- Also, while in flight, make sure to wear a mask and gloves, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of rest while on vacation
Remember – with a little extra preparation, your travels with a pacemaker will be a breeze!