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Traveling With PI

Having primary immunodeficiency (PI) does not necessarily have to prevent you from traveling, but it does mean taking some extra precautions. Remember to include your healthcare team as you plan any trips.

Before You Leave

In addition to all the normal parts of planning for a trip, you’ll want to take time to prepare for everything involving your PI. Some areas to take into consideration may include the following.


If you are planning a vacation, particularly if you are hoping to travel abroad, it is important to consider the safety of your destination. For your reference, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains up-to-date information for travelers about health concerns in other countries. Talk to your doctor about whether the destination you have in mind is a good choice for you, and what extra precautions you may need to take in visiting there.

Infusion Planning

Consider when your or your family’s infusions are scheduled, and try to plan accordingly. You may want to schedule infusions for just before leaving, if possible, or for as soon as you return.


Make sure to bring all your necessary medical supplies with you. Pack them in your carry-on bag when flying or as the last item packed in the car so they are easy to locate. This can help ensure they are readily available. For rules surrounding Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening of medical supplies, see our Flying With Medical Supplies section below.

You may also want to pack additional information about your or your family’s health, including healthcare records, names and dosages of medications, and extra copies of insurance cards.

Also, keep in mind that you can bring along our complimentary SubQ Travel Kit. Learn more about what it includes and how to order it here.

Immunologists in Your Destination

If you have to be away for an extended period of time, consider finding an immunologist in your destination who may be able to treat you if needed. It may also be worth locating an immunologist in case of emergency.

While You’re Away

Making Healthful Choices

In addition to normal illness-prevention techniques, such as frequent hand-washing and not sharing drinks with people who may be sick, you may want to take some extra precautions when traveling. Some tips may include:

  • Bringing extra layers of clothing when you will be outside for a prolonged period of time.
  • Carrying snacks when you are away in case meal time gets delayed.
  • Packing antibacterial hand wipes in case you don’t have good access to a place to wash your hands.
  • Not drinking well water or water from a stream, particularly when camping, because it may have higher concentrations of bacteria or parasites.

For more tips on preventing illnesses, see the Avoiding Infections section on our ImmuneDisease.com website.

Flying With Medical Supplies

Don’t let concerns about airport security prevent you from traveling. TSA agents are accustomed to screening travelers with medications. Your medical supplies are also protected from many of the airport security rules you are used to. For example, medications may be carried onto the plane in quantities greater than the 3.4-fluid-ounce limit required for other liquids.1

For more details on these rules, visit the TSA website.

Include Your Healthcare Team in Travel Plans

The questions below can help you make sure you are having an effective conversation with your healthcare team prior to leaving for a trip. Consider using them as a discussion guide.

  • Are there any places you think are not prudent for me to visit?
  • Are there any precautions I need to take before visiting the destination I have in mind?
  • Do I need to make any adjustments to my infusion schedule? Should I do an infusion before I leave or immediately after returning?
  • If there is an emergency while I’m traveling, whom should I have the physicians treating me contact and what is the best way to do this?
  • Is there an immunologist you trust in the area I’ll be traveling?

Reference: 1. Transportation Security Administration. Medically Necessary Liquids. Washington, DC: US Department of Homeland Security. Available at:
http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/medically-necessary-liquids. Accessed: October 16, 2013.


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