Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center Travel and College

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What things should you bring when traveling? Where should we keep the medication? What should you do if you need medical attention while away? What challenges can be expected when beginning college? Are there services to help?

Summary points 

  • Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) can travel just like everyone else. Some patients find it helpful to make a checklist so they don’t forget to bring anything important.

  • It is a good idea to find out the locations of the nearest restrooms along the route and pack extra toilet paper just in case.

  • All medication should be stored in a carry-on in case luggage is lost. Always pack extra medication for every trip.

  • It is very important to know the names and dosages of all medications. Some patients find it helpful to keep an index card with all this information in their wallets.

  • Consider bringing an extra prescription on all trips.

  • Before leaving, research the location of the nearest hospital or medical facility, especially if traveling away from a city.

  • The transition to college life is an exciting and challenging time. Before leaving for school, students and their parents should meet with the medical team and discuss any challenges or concerns. This is a good opportunity to get a recommendation for a local physician to help manage IBD care while at school.

  • A copy of the medical records should be sent to the local doctor. This allows the new physician to review the medical history before taking over care. Students should have all of their prescriptions transferred to the local pharmacy and should also bring extra medication so it is available during the transition.

  • Once at school, begin the year by visiting Disability Services or the office of Student Affairs. This is a good opportunity to determine the school’s medical leave of absence policy in case the situation arises. Office staff can also help with housing arrangements, such as bathroom accommodations, or course management.

  • Students should consider speaking with dining hall services if the meal plans do not fit their needs.

  • Remember that symptoms of UC can be aggravated by lack of sleep, poor diet, skipping medication, alcohol consumption and stress.

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