Travel Tips for People with Cold Agglutinin Disease

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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CAD Prevalence worldwide

Travel can be challenging for people with cold agglutinin disease (CAD) because cold can trigger the immune system’s attack on red blood cells.

Following are some tips to help CAD patients travel safely.

Before travel

Planning ahead is crucial. CAD makes you sensitive to cold, so check the temperatures and forecasts at your destination(s). Warm, sunny places may become quite cold at night, so plan your trip and activities accordingly.

If you have a prescription for pain medication that you may need while traveling, check with the airline or travel agency whether there are any restrictions. If you cannot carry your medication with you, talk to your doctor about arranging for your prescription to be filled at your destination.

Think about whether you will need special arrangements during travel. Can you walk the length of the concourse in the given time between flights? Will you need a wheelchair or shuttle to assist you between your flights? Consider notifying the airline or travel agency of any special arrangements and make sure they can be handled appropriately in advance.

Also, think about what might happen if you need treatment once you reach  your destination. Discuss with your physician and figure out ahead of time  which clinics or hospitals will have the equipment and healthcare professionals necessary to help you.

As well as discussing with the doctor the challenges of the destination, such as the local weather, altitude, and access to medical care, a pre-travel medical assessment also may be useful for some patients.

During travel

You should carry essential paperwork such as a health insurance card, travel insurance, and a physician’s letter stating any medication that may be needed during travel.

If you feel unwell at any time during a flight, alert the cabin crew immediately. If the situation is serious, the pilot may be able to land at a nearby airport to access medical help .

CAD is a rare disease so you may want to carry your treatment plan information with you. Should you be treated by a physician who is not familiar with CAD, they can access more quickly the specifics of your illness and the course of treatment that you and your primary physician have decided.

At the destination

You should make sure that you are prepared to deal with the climate and environment at your destination. Pack appropriate clothing and plan activities that will not be too strenuous. Knowing the locations of local clinics also would be helpful if you need timely medical care or access to equipment.


Last updated: Feb. 14, 2020


Cold Agglutinin Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.