When people travel, they can experience stress from the new environment they are placed in. This is true for everyone, but especially true for amputees. In a humid climate, everyone would get sweaty just as most would experience dry skin in arid places. However, some types of travel stress are unique to amputees. Eating salty food such as chips or seafood during travel can result in swelling in an amputee’s residual limb. It might also require more time to walk up a road or trail towards a mountaintop, but the effort would be worth the panoramic view.
While there are some challenges beyond your control when traveling as an amputee, you can still enjoy a fun and safe trip by planning properly and preparing a travel kit for your needs. Here’s what you’ll need to know about traveling as an amputee:
Before Your Trip
There will inevitably be challenges in terms of mobility and comfort. Therefore, you might want to inform yourself of any facilities near or within your destination that are friendly to amputees like you. Does the inn or hotel where you plan to stay have elevators? You can also ask a travel agency to assist you in finding the kind of transport appropriate to your needs as a person with a disability.
Before you go out on a trip, make sure that you check if the components of your prosthetic are still working the way they should. If you notice any loose parts, cracks, or abnormal sounds, have your prosthetist fix these problems so that you will avoid the hassle when you’re camping in the wilderness or going to a locality far from any prosthetist who could assist you in emergencies.
Packing Your Travel Kit
If you will be traveling to go to a warm or humid place, you need to consider how the climate will affect you and your residual limb. Perspiration makes your stump vulnerable to abrasions and can make you smell bad. It’s a good idea to pack antiperspirant sprays or roll-on products to control your sweat and avoid embarrassment. You can also bring body powder from your prosthetist to keep your stump dry.
It’s important to bring moisturizing creams and lotions to keep your skin fresh against dry and sunny environments such as the golf course or the beach. Odorless creams are preferable as scented moisturizing creams may have other substances that can irritate your skin. Your prosthetist can give or recommend skin lotions that you can apply over your stump to prevent sores.
Antiseptics and unscented body soap are two more things your amputee travel kit should contain to keep your skin clean and free from bacteria. The complimentary soap in your hotel might be too harsh on your skin, so use your own.
You should also bring a cleanser for your prosthetic limbs. Use it when wiping your prosthetics’ sockets, liners, and suspension sleeves to keep them free from dried sweat and bacteria. Just make sure to choose a cleaner that suits the material your prosthetic is made from. You can ask your prosthetist for advice on the matter.
Sores and minor wounds may develop during your trip. Therefore, it helps to have antibiotic ointments at hand so you can immediately treat these wounds or sores should they occur. Trekking and hiking can also stress your limb and can bring about abrasions or blisters. You should have skin dressing in your kit just in case blisters and abrasions form.
Those who have recently undergone their amputation operation may find it difficult to maintain proper posture. They may also hop instead of taking the time to place their prosthetic leg in the right position. These problems, including the improper fitting of prosthetics and loose sockets, can lead to pistoning on the stump area. Pistoning can reduce the suction at the place where your limb and leg meets, making it more difficult to move. The skin around the residual limb can also become scratched and feel painful. Include extra socket padding and suspension sleeves in your kit to mitigate the effects of pistoning.
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