I am a fairly new amputee and plan to take several trips this summer. What should I know about traveling with a prosthesis?
Here are a few tips regarding the most commonly asked questions in terms of summer travel.
Many prosthesis wearers find sweat in the summer months to be a frequent concern. One way to help battle the sweat is to use an antiperspirant on your limb (e.g. Certain Dri has a roll-on version). With antiperspirants, it is best to apply them at night so they have time to absorb into your skin. Consistent use of them will also aid in decreasing your sweating over time. Also, as you sweat, your limb could shrink in size over the day. It may seem counterintuitive, but putting on extra prosthetic socks could help improve your comfort by tightening up the fit of the prosthesis to reduce pistoning and keep it more tightly secured on your limb. It is also a good idea to take the prosthesis off a couple of times during the day to let your limb air out, and it would give you a chance to rinse out (using warm water and gentle soap) and towel dry your gel liner, or wipe off your sleeve.
Taking your prosthesis on the beach? You may want to consider protecting the components by wrapping any exposed components with clear plastic wrap, or even better – using a waterproof cast sock (such as Xerosox). If your prosthesis does get wet with salt or chlorinated water, rinse it with fresh water and then dry it completely with a towel.
If you are traveling by air, TSA has some rules for traveling with prostheses and other medical devices. Before you head to the airport, review TSA’s rules so you don't get any surprises at security! Check here for traveling with prostheses and other medical devices: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures?field_disability_type_value=6%20
You can print out and fill in a TSA disability notification card to have ready to show the security officer, in order to help avoid unwanted delays: https://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/disability_notification_card_508.pdf
For those long car rides, you may be more comfortable taking your prosthesis off completely. Never store your prosthesis in a hot car.
Do a visual inspection of your prosthesis before you leave. See any crack or tears in the liner or sleeve? Feel any excessive motion or loose parts? Or hear any strange sounds? It is recommended that you schedule a routine maintenance check of your prosthesis before your vacation, to help prevent any problems that may occur while you are away. If you have any concerns about your prosthesis following your trip, that is also a good time for a check-in with your prosthetist.
Thanks for your question! - Angie Bryl, CPO
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