Planning Family Vacations with an Extra Guest: Hemophilia
Mar 28, 2014
Travel can be scary when your child has hemophilia — a rare bleeding disorder that can turn even a scraped knee into a dangerous health risk. But as the weather warms up and you turn your thoughts toward summer, don’t let hemophilia stop you from getting out and about.
Maybe you have been dreaming about a family vacation. If so, what are some of the things you need to consider when you have a child with hemophilia? The first thing is to have a plan. While some families are afraid to travel with children with chronic medical conditions, hemophilia should not hold you back.
You can absolutely plan a safe and fun vacation if you follow a few pointers. As you plan, you should consider:
The location of the vacation
The activities you would like to do
Your child’s treatment plan
Location, Location, Location
The location of your vacation is important in the event of an emergency. Is there a hospital or hemophilia treatment center (HTC) nearby? There are HTCs around the country. These treatment centers have teams of hemophilia specialists that can help if you have medical needs and can coordinate care with your home HTC. You can find the closest HTC by going to the national directory.
There are also hemophilia specialists around the world. Just contact your home HTC if you plan to go abroad so they can help you locate hemophilia specialists internationally.
Safe Vacation Activities for Kids with Hemophilia
The next thing to consider is the activities that you plan for your vacation. Will they be safe and fun for everyone? The National Hemophilia Foundation has guidelines on safe activities for your child with hemophilia. The guide has divided activities into five color-coded categories ranging from those that are safe (green) to those that are dangerous (red) for children with bleeding disorders.
Please look over this great resource and you will find many green activities like archery, hiking and snorkeling that will be fun for the whole family. Use this great resource to inspire you to try something new!
Creating a Travel Treatment Plan
Last but certainly not least: Now that you have planned your location and activities, do you have a treatment plan that will allow your child to have a safe trip? Call your HTC to ensure that you have an appropriate treatment plan. They can review your plans, provide a travel letter and make sure you have the right medications and equipment to take with you on your trip.
Vacations are an important time for families to connect and experience new things. By following the simple steps above, you can make sure that hemophilia won’t prevent you from making special memories that will last a lifetime.
Amy Dunn, MD, is an associate professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University and the director of Hematology, Oncology and BMT and the Hemophilia Treatment Center.
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