Any advice for traveling with catheters?

Posted , 11 users are following.

Does anyone have any good advice for traveling by plane with catheters?  I may be traveling for work soon for the first time since having to CIC over a year ago.

I assume the TSA is familiar with them and doesn’t give you any hassle?  Do you need any type of letter from a doctor? I think I read on their website they are considered medical material.  Can you carry it on yourself (pockets, coat, etc.) or does it need be in your carry-on, or can you do both.  I assume you would want it with your carry on in case your luggage got lost and to pack extras.  Is there any problem with the lube packs, wet-one sanitizers, etc.?

Not looking forward to having to use the airport and small airplane restrooms, not to mention trying to find a good place at the work meeting and spending all day with my co-workers.

Thanks.

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  • Posted

    Hi DB,

    I have traveled on aircraft several times with catheters, some in my laptop bag that I put under the seat in front of me and some in my carry-on (I don't check luggage if I can help it). Never had a problem with security. I use BZK wipes that come in individual packets and also latex gloves that I put in ziploc bags (only brand new ones). If you are concerned about security, print out a copy of your prescription and carry it with you or have a jpeg of it on your cell phone. If you don't have your prescription, the company that sends you catheters should have it on file and be able to send. As a last resort, get another copy from your doc. I had to practice cathing and it was several months before I felt I could do it in an aircraft head, but I did and it worked. I carry a small canvas bag that I fold up until I need it to take the caths and other supplies to the restroom on the plane. If in the airport, I just take my whole laptop bag into the stall and use it as my supply cabinet after hanging it from the hook on the door.

    If I am going on a long trip, I mail a box of catheters ahead with gloves and wipes. If it is only a few days, I carry everything. For me, I found out the hard way that the stress of travel makes me pee more, so I need more catheters. On my 1st trip, I almost ran out and had to phone the supplier for an emergency overnight shipment, which did not make them too happy. After a while, it gets much easier. Good luck.

    Fred 

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  • Posted

    I would travel with them in my backpack through TSA. I was never hassled, but was prepared to tell them they were medical supplies and leave it at that.

    Use the small ones that fit in your pocket for the plane. I would put what I need in my pocket after I passed through TSA, so I didn’t have to deal with it on the airplane.

    If you use the Speedicath compact, or their newer ones, you won’t need the lube, just the antiseptic wipes. 

    I had to do this for several years, thank God I don’t have to at the moment. But it isn’t that bad if you plan it out ahead of time.

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  • Posted

    Probably not necessary but I always have a doctor's note, covering catheters, lube packs and hand sanitizers, etc. You want to carry on the plane enough for a few days in case your luggage gets lost. Check the air lines fluid restriction and pack multiple hand sanitzers in case they take some away. I always carry paper towels to rest supplies on when in public bathrooms. As tobeing stealth during work meetings, etc, if the catheters don't fit in your pocket, put them and supplies in a briefcase of back pack. You can also stick several catheters under your pants being held by your socks. Not as bad as it sounds if you are prepared and organized. Doing a trial run is not a bad idea.

    Jim

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    • Posted

      For longer trips or as a fail safe, you can always call your catheter distributor to overnight you supplies. Giving them a heads up you're traveling isn't a bad idea.

      Jim

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    • Posted

      Hi JimJames

      Do you always sanitize your hands even when using the drop in method you've outlined and which I always use?  When doing this yesterday I just barely touched my index finger while inserting the catheter and threw it away.  Sometimes when I've had a relatively decent flow from an NV before catheterizing I don't even sterilize the end of my penis.  If I get the tip of the catheter in right in the hole, the alcohol pad, or whatever one is using, the antiseptic wouldn't get down in there anyhow.

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    • Posted

      I don't always sanitize my hands but I think it's a good idea and only takes a few seconds. FWIW there are some CIC professionals that don't feel cleaning the meatus is necessary, but I always do that. And then there is the other end of the spectrum where some irrigate both the urethra and/or bladder with either a saline or antiseptic solution.

      Jim

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    • Posted

      I always wash my hands with an antibacterial soap before cathing when home.  I carry some antiseptic wipes for this purpose when away from home.  I also use antiseptic wipes or baby wipes to clean the area around the meatus.  In 7.5 months of CIC, I luckily haven't had an infection.

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  • Posted

    Hi, DB,

    I flew to Florida last spring and had no problem. But before going, I called TSA and asked about catheters. My catheters and cathing gear were packed in my checked luggage as well as my carryon. For travel, I used Wet One individual packets. I also had a note from my doctor, and I called my medical supply company to make sure they could overnight product to me if needed. Didn't think cathing in an airplane restroom would work for me, so I made sure I had enough time between flights to cath at the airport.

    Also check with the airline to see if they allow separate carryon bags for medical supplies. Mine did. For carryon cathing gear, I use a backpack. In the backpack, I use a cardboard mailing tube, cut to fit my catheters, to keep them from bending. And I use a fanny pack (or what some folks call a bum bag) to carry my Wet One packets, and plastic grocery bags to dispose of stuff when I'm done.

    I just took a road trip to California and used my backpack for my cathing gear. When I'd run into a gas station to cath, I'd slip catheter into my front pocket and cover the rest of it, that stuck out of the pocket, with my sweatshirt or jacket. Then I'd grab my fanny pack with the rest of my gear. That way I didn't have to take the whole backpack in with me.

    Like you I sometimes dread traveling and cathing, but I now look at it as an adventure. You'll figure out ways that work for you. Have a great trip.

    Stebrunner

     

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  • Posted

    No problems so far no one ever asked me about them either TSA or on the plane - I suggest you get the prelubricated type, that way no need for any other supplies and it's much faster and easier in confined spaces.

    ?I've found most people are glued to their various screens and books and even if they noticed couldn't care less that I am carrying a long green tube into the restroom, so I wouldn't even bother with the speedicath compact on the plane and airport- on the other hand it sounds logical to get those for your work meetings.

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  • Posted

    You have gotten some good advice.  I have flown domestically and internationally since I started CIC last summer.  I have a small travel bag (9"X11"X3"wink that I carry around when out of the house.  I keep a small supply of catheters, lubricant packs and wipes in this bag.  I also keep a copy of my prescription in the bag, in case airport security has any questions.  I carry this bag on the airplane, and to date, I have not had any problems going through security. No one has questioned the contents.  The remaining supplies for a trip are packed in my suitcase.  Always carry on enough supplies, in case the airline loses or delays your luggage.

    I normally use non lubricated latex catheters, but I also use some plastic and pre lubricated ones.  The pre lubricated and hydrophilic catheters are more convenient to use in public restrooms or where you don't want to deal with lube packs.  There are some compact catheters that can be discretely carried.  If I have to cath on the airpIane, I use the Coloplast hydrophilic pocket catheters.  You can carry them in your pocket, along with a wipe.  They are also good to use when you are somewhere you don't want to carry your travel kit.  The downside is that they are expensive.

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  • Posted

    Regarding pocket and compact catheters, etc...These work great for some, not so fine for others. It's a good idea to test any new catheter at home prior to taking it on the road. You don't want to find out at 40,000 feet that your new compact catheter is too short or missing the coude tip you rely on! As I mentioned earlier, if you don't want to carry a bag or back pack, an stealth alternative to carrying a catheter in your pocket is simply to tuck it into your socks and cover it with your pants. Bermuda shorts need not apply.

    Jim

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    • Posted

      What Jim says goes for traveling with any catheter.  If new to catheterization, you should try out different brands and types to find out what works best for you.  Most manufacturers will provide you with samples.
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  • Posted

    I've never had a problem with it.  Don't try and take it through the x-ray machine - and you should be okay.  They check my bags for many things - but I've never been pulled aside for the catheters.

    Welcome to the much less fun version of the "mile high club"!

    Don't worry - It becomes more routine  (I find the male compact Speedicath the best for me - when travelling and at home)

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  • Posted

    I think it depends...

    I find during the day I can still have a bit of a natural void so as long as where I'm going is in CONUS I don't take anything with me. My experience has been that at the major airports they have seen it all iand s not something they are looking for..however if you are flying to podunk USA then all bets are off...I'll check a bag  with the catheters through .... I won't deal with the potential of some azz waving the cath around... your tolerance for such BS may be lower than mine...

    Internationally, which I do most often I always check them through. I plan ahead by drastically limiting my fluid intake, drinking little to nothing on the flight, and self cathing outside of security at the airport right before departure which  in my case will get me through a 12 hour flight.

    Again, I think it depends on you and your familiarity with the place you are going to... 

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