You can enjoy safe, comfortable travel with a feeding tube, whether you’re on a daytime outing or a longer trip. Being prepared is key. Here are three tips that can help you get started on your way. You’ll have a much better time knowing you’ve done what’s needed to help save time, money and, most important of all, your health.
#1 Talk with your care team about traveling with a feeding tube
First things first: talk with your care team before you start your journey. Then you can feel confident that you have clinical support for your travel plans. Also, know who to call if you have any issues, and be aware of where you can go for care while on your trip. This is especially important if you’re traveling internationally. Then, if there are any problems away from home, you can reach your normal care providers who know you and your health history. It’s also a good idea to talk about the steps to take if you get sick or have problems with your feeding tube.1
#2 Pack wisely and well
Think about all the things you use each day. This way, you can avoid hassles trying to locate items you forgot. The best thing you can do is make a checklist of what you’ll need on your trip.2
- All of your medicines and nutrition
- Bottles of sterile or distilled water
- Back-up extension sets and tubes
- A container or zip-top bags for refrigerating extra nutrition between feedings
- Equipment as needed, such as pumps and bags
- Gloves and tape
- Adhesive wall hooks as a possible option for hanging bags
Plan to keep your enteral supplies with you. Not packed away in luggage where they could get lost or in a parked car where they might get too hot or too cold.
You can never pack too many supplies. In fact, always pack more than you’ll ever need. After all, things happen — it’s best to be prepared. Then you won’t have to make do with poor substitutes or spend precious vacation time trying to replace them.
#3 Know when to get help
Despite your best-laid plans, sometimes there’s a trigger situation and you’ll need to get care right away. Get medical help if you have3:
- Choking or trouble breathing
- Nausea or upset stomach that goes on for 24 hours
- Diarrhea that goes on for two days
- Constipation that continues for five to seven days
- Symptoms of being dehydrated
- More than two pounds of weight loss in a week
- A stoma site that’s red, painful or begins to drain
- A problem that keeps you from giving feedings for more than 24 hours
- A tube that’s dislodged, blocked or broken
- Fever, chills, weakness or other symptoms
A trouble-free trip with a feeding tube
A trip with a feeding tube that goes smoothly? Tubies tell us it happens all the time. With good planning, you can have what you need and be good to go. Whether you’re heading out for business or pleasure, around the world or close to home, start with these three tips:
- Talk with your doctor.
- Make your checklist of supplies.
- Know the symptoms to watch out for.
Then, enjoy the journey!
- Tips for Traveling with a Feeding Tube. TubeFed. https://tubefed.com/newsletter/tips-for-traveling-with-a-feeding-tube/. Published March 17, 2020. Accessed May 11, 2020.
- “Swimming, Traveling, and Camping.” Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation. https://www.feedingtubeawareness.org/swimming/. Accessed March 11, 2020.
- Traveling with Tube Feeding. Newsletters: Traveling with Tube Feeding – Oley Foundation. https://oley.org/?page=Traveling_with_TF. Accessed May 11, 2020.