Travelling with Cystic Fibrosis
Travelling always requires an element of forward planning, and for individuals with cystic fibrosis this is no different. Here are some handy things to consider when planning your next trip.
Planning is necessary for anyone who is about to travel, but for people with cystic fibrosis (CF), there are a few other aspects to think about that will make the trip go smoothly.
Things to consider when planning a trip are:
Getting travel insurance with a chronic disease like CF isn’t straight forward.
Basic insurance that covers your luggage, cancellations and injuries not related to your CF that happen while travelling (e.g. breaking a leg) shouldn’t be a problem, but you will also need cover for “a pre-existing health condition”. This covers you for any CF treatment you might need while you’re away.
Unfortunately it’s not always easy to get travel insurance to cover CF as a pre-existing medical condition, so consider the following:
Your destination may have an impact on whether you get cover or not. People headed to countries such as the USA, Bali or Thailand have been refused coverage in the past. The insurance company may also not grant cover if there has been a hospital admission in the past 12 months.
Getting long term travel insurance cover may also be difficult.
The Insurance Council of Australia is very helpful and will work to assist you if you have questions about gaining travel insurance with a pre-existing health conditions
Also, the National Bureau of Insurance Brokers Association can help you find an insurer that will cover you.
Otherwise this list of insurers is a list of companies that have covered people with CF in the past, or have been helpful to people with other pre-existing medical conditions. Please keep in mind we don’t guarantee they will offer you coverage.
CGU Travel Insurance: 03 9601 8252
QBE Travel insurance: 1300 555 017
Covermore Travel Insurance: 1300 728 822
Aussie Travel Cover: 1800 888 448
World Nomads: 1300 787 375
Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the following countries:
The type of coverage you will receive from each country will vary and is not a substitute for travel insurance, so please review each agreement carefully. The Department of Human Services website has more details.
You should have enough medication to last you while you are away, in fact it’s possibly a good idea to take a little bit extra just to be on the safe side (there might be delays, you might drop and lose some of the tablets). However, limits may apply on the amount of medication you can take into another country. Allowed limits can range of 1-3 months. RHCA may cover some medications may be available and covered, but medications such as Orkambi will not.
Many medications overseas have different names from which could make travel stressful if you run out of medication and are unwell. Make sure you talk to your CF specialist about your medication needs well ahead of your trip. They will be able to provide you with a medication list, assist with extra prescriptions, and/or assist with information about if you will require a permit to take your medication into the country you plan to travel. If you are traveling to a country where you will have a significant time change, you will want to discuss with your treating team how you space your medications to your new time zone.
You will also want to discuss with your treating physiotherapist or research online that your nebuliser will be compatible with the voltage in the country you are travelling.
The Australian Government has restrictions regarding what can and cannot be taken on board on any international flight to and from Australia.
People with CF may need nebulised medications and insulin that needs to be kept cold throughout the flight. This means it needs be carried in a cool box as hand luggage.
Prescription medication is allowed on board, but there are heavy restrictions on other liquids and items.
This Australian government website provides more information about travelling with specific needs.
This page explains more about international restrictions on liquids, gels and aerosol.
Exemptions for medicines:
Prescription and non prescription (including special dietary products) medicines and medical devices are allowed on board. There is no limit to the amount of prescription medicine that can be carried on board, but remember:
You can read the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website for more details.
Now that you’re almost ready to go, there are a few last things to check: