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Call our insurance team on 0800 3160 308 and quote WY922, or book online to find a suitable policy for you.

Travel Insurance for COPD Patients

Getting travel insurance when you suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be a little challenging to say the least, with many insurers potentially quoting higher premiums, regardless of the traveller.

How do I declare my condition?

You may be wondering what is involved in a medical screening, and if this is the case, you can be assured that it is nothing too taxing or prying. You'll simply need to answer a few questions regarding your COPD, designed to provide us with enough information about your condition so we can calculate the most suitable policy for you. Medical screening takes place online through the quote form above, though if you prefer, this can also be done via our friendly insurance team by calling our UK based landline.

Can you fly with mild COPD?

Most people without any form of respiratory condition will experience a drop in oxygen saturation during a long-haul flight. At the most, this results in drowsiness which usually goes away once they are back on the ground.

For people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease however, a long-haul flight at higher elevations can result in a more substantial drop in oxygen saturations, with symptoms including headaches and muscle cramps.

A traveller with COPD can also take a lot longer to recover from the drop in oxygen saturation after a flight. For such people, air travel might seem a little risky, due to the effects that hypobaric hypoxia can have. However, generally speaking the majority of passengers with respiratory conditions like COPD, can fly without risk, with only a very small minority requiring extra measures like supplementary oxygen supplies.

If you are unsure as to whether you fall into the minority of COPD sufferers that need extra measures when taking a flight, then the best thing to do is to visit your doctor before the departure date. You can find out from your doctor whether your oxygen requirements will change at higher elevations, and he may also be able to prescribe a refill on your COPD medications. If your doctor recommends supplementary oxygen during flight, then be sure to contact the airline a few weeks in advance before the date of departure, to find out their policies on supplementary oxygen.

There are also some simple steps you can take to ensure you have a comfortable flight as a COPD sufferer:

  • Carry your oxymeter with you at all times during the flight so you can frequently measure your oxygen saturations.
  • If you notice saturations falling below 90, begin pursed lip breathing.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine, before, during or directly after the flight

Tips for travelling with COPD

Take into account your environment

Find out what sort of climate and weather the country you are travelling to experiences. Be prepared and bring suitable clothing for the weather. If you are visiting an urban location, remember that many cities outside of Europe have more lax pollution restrictions and experience excessive smog and haze at certain times of the year. Taking basic precautions, like wearing a dust filtering mask may greatly reduce your discomfort, however - depending on the severity of your condition - it may be wise to simply avoid such areas altogether.

Get enough rest

Getting adequate rest while travelling can often be a challenge, especially when venturing further afield on a long-haul journey. For sufferers of COPD, getting proper sleep is perhaps more important - as dealing with such a condition can often be very physically taxing. Simple things, like avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic drinks before bedtime or using eye masks and noise-cancelling headphones, can increase your comfort and make it easier for you to get some needed rest.

If you're travelling between time zones, it can be particularly tricky to get enough sleep and maintain the needed levels of energy. While there's not way to completely prevent jet lag, there are a few things practical things you can do to lessen it's impact.

Before you travel, start altering your sleeping patterns to fit the time zone you'll be travelling to. A couple of nights in advance, you could set an alarm at 2am, doing a few quiet chores before going back to bed.

When you're on the plane, you can set your watch to the time of your destination to help you get psychologically prepared. Once you arrive, get as much sunlight as you can, and eat three regular meals at the local time. This will help you to adjust as quickly and comfortably as possible and make travelling with COPD a little more manageable.

Get vaccinated

As a COPD suffer, you should be vaccinated against pneumonia and be having a yearly flu jab. If you haven't had these vaccinations yet, it's advised to get these as soon as possible, preferably before you travel. The last thing you'll want is to fall ill with a debilitating flu while on your holiday!

Looking for information regarding a different condition?

Be sure to have a read up on our pre-existing conditions travel insurance.

Holiday Extras Cover Ltd and Holiday Extras Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Holiday Extras Cover Ltd 05058680 and Holiday Extras Ltd 01693250 are registered in England and Wales. Registered address: Ashford Road, Newingreen, Kent CT21 4JF.

Holiday Extras is underwritten by Travel Insurance Facilities plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered address: 2nd Floor, 1 Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UY. Company number 03220410.