Traveling can be challenging for people with X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH), depending on the severity of their symptoms and the nature of travel itself. Therefore, patients and their caregivers should be aware of what needs to be done before and during travel to minimize discomfort and enhance safety.
Planning ahead will help minimize the last-minute rush when traveling. While planning, both patients and carers should consider factors such as their travel companion, wheelchair provisions, and easy access to restrooms, especially if traveling by plane.
A pre-travel medical assessment may also be useful for some patients, as well as discussing the challenges of the destination — local weather, altitude, and access to medical care and wheelchairs — with their doctors.
Patients and carers should carry essential paperwork such as a health insurance card, travel insurance, and a physician’s letter stating any medical equipment or medication needed during travel.
If the patient will be using a wheelchair during travel, the airline should be notified beforehand to avoid inconvenience and ensure that the ground crew is aware of the patient’s needs.
Some airlines, including Air Canada and WestJet, have a “one person, one fare” policy that allows for free domestic travel of an attendant. Patients and carers should confirm eligibility beforehand.
Advance seat selection can help patients get seats that are comfortable for them. Although most airlines offer window seats for disabled people, it may be possible to secure an aisle seat that allows easier transfer from the seat to a wheelchair, which would make getting to the restroom easier during a flight.
If the patient feels unwell at any time during a flight, the cabin crew should be alerted immediately. The plane may be able to land at the nearest airport and provide the patient with medical help if the situation is serious.
At the destination
The patient and carer should ensure that they are adequately equipped to deal with the climate and environment at their destination. Knowing the locations of local clinics would be helpful for timely medical care or access to equipment, such as wheelchairs or motorized scooters.
Last updated: Jan. 16, 2020
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