Tips on Traveling with Psoriasis

It was Hans Christian Anderson that said "To travel is to live". Of course, the wanderlust of traveling can be appealing and exciting - but what if you live with a chronic condition like psoriasis?

Traveling with health issues, health concerns, and medications can bring the appeal of traveling down a notch and can add quite a few bumps to the adventure.

The difficulty of traveling with psoriasis

I was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 16. At this point in my life, my psoriasis is moderately controlled but not fully cured.

There continues to be a lot of stigma around psoriasis so traveling with the condition can open up that same can of worms. Sitting next to strangers, interacting with new people, trying new things - a dirty look or new trigger can be just around the corner.

I mean, imagine getting a flare-up before going to the beach? It could totally ruin your trip. Or how about even showing your skin? Many people prefer not to travel while their skin is painful and doesn't look very 'presentable'.

Here's what I've learned...

Being a professional travel blogger, my life has revolved around traveling almost full-time. I've managed to deal with my psoriasis on the road.

In the beginning, I would hide by wearing long skirts and not going for a swim, but the more I traveled the more I understood that I just need to cope with it. I coped, but the world didn't seem to cope with me.

Below I list a few issues you might deal with when abroad and give advice on how to cope with them.

Getting medicines abroad

Moving around and living in countries with a lack of proper healthcare resources, receiving any form of medication has practically been a mission impossible.

Long waiting periods and unavailability biologic drugs in several countries made me realize that I need to deal with flare-ups on the road. It seemed to get easier the longer I did it.

Managing embarrassing situations

When the psoriasis on my scalp gets bad, flakes of skin drop whenever I shake my head. I feel like a snowman leaving snowflakes everywhere and dark-colored plane seats are my worst nightmare.

In these situations, fellow passengers tend to stare. It took me months to realize that some people will continue to do so no matter what, simply because they don't understand.

Once, a flight attendant asked me what was wrong with my skin in front of the other passengers. As she wasn’t very discreet about it, other people started to look very concerned and ended up asking me if I have Ebola or another scary disease.

I explained to her that there was nothing to worry about as psoriasis is a genetic disease and not contagious. It seemed to me that she didn’t believe me and called another crew member over who had to deal with the whole scene. Embarrassing, I know, but in the end, what could I do? Resign from traveling just because people keep asking me questions about my skin? Of course not.

Clothes will be your best friend

I'm aware that many psoriasis sufferers prefer to cover the affected areas of skin with clothing. Long sleeves, pants, and hats are normal to wear daily for them, even during hot and sunny days.

However, while it might be warm in the US or Europe and you won't melt in the sun when covered in clothes, this method won't work in the hottest regions like Central America or the Middle East. You need to learn to deal with wearing shorts and the thinnest shirts you have.

I had been afraid of doing it for a while as I didn't make it to make a sensation out of myself, however, the more confident I became about my psoriasis the fewer people were staring. In fact, over the last few months, I didn't notice anyone giving my psoriasis even a glance, and trust me – I'd notice if they did.

Air on the plane will dry your skin

After a long-haul flight, I've always felt like my psoriasis was getting worse, but I thought it was just a coincidence. But it turned out that apparently, it wasn't.

Airlines filled the aircraft with lower quality air that makes your skin dry. Therefore remember to keep putting a ton of lotion before, during and after the flight.

Don't let it stop you.

I hope this article will convince you that you can travel despite living with psoriasis. There's no need to be afraid.

While the culture and weather of foreign countries might affect your daily routine from home, it shouldn't stop you from traveling.

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