Travel is living – also when you have pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP). Even if you have to bring medicine, oxygen or other devices with you it is possible to travel. It may take you out of your comfort zone to leave your home and neighbourhood, but it is usually worth it. Travelling is like therapy for the mind.
Planning the trip is key to a happy holiday. The earlier and the more thoroughly you plan the trip, the better the holiday. You know your own limits better than anyone else. So you want to make sure that the holiday is planned with respect for your boundaries. It is a good start to read about the place you are going so you know how to get around and what to expect once you get there.
An easy way to make sure that you will have an enjoyable holiday is to allow for rest during the day. Whether you have PAP or not it is normal to feel exhausted when travelling by plane or exploring new sights. Your head may feel like it is about to explode with new impressions. And your body and breath may find it challenging to keep up to speed.
So remember to take a break now and then. Often it is just a matter of slowing down or to sit on a bench and have a refreshment for five minutes. A good advice from other PAP patients who have travelled before you is to listen to your body and don’t over exaggerate your plans for the day. Don’t push yourself, but do what you are capable of whether you are by the sea or in the city. If you travel with friends or family, it is important to match expectations before departure.
When travelling by plane be aware that the air pressure in the cabin decreases. The pressure in the aircraft cabin is lower than the ground level. Actually, the oxygen level corresponds to about 2,400 meters altitude. On ground level the oxygen level in the air is around 21 %. When up in the air the oxygen level falls to about 15 %
This means that your oxygen level will drop. This happens to everyone travelling by plane. But for you, who are living with PAP, it is important that you talk to your doctor to get recommendations on what to do when going by plane. Even if you do not need extra oxygen in your everyday life you may feel short of breath and need more oxygen when travelling by plane. It is possible to travel with oxygen, but you will need to prepare yourself and the airline in good time before taking off.