Travelling with Addison's disease and adrenal insufficiency means there are a few more things to think about before you set off. Read on for the adrenal crisis guidelines in a variety of languages for you to take when you travel, as well as information on airport security when carrying essential medication and injection kits and the Sunflower lanyard scheme.

Adrenal Crisis Guidelines

We've put together the following adrenal crisis guidelines, in a variety of languages that will help you ask for the same care you'd receive in the UK or ROI. Simply download and print these before you travel!

Note: Some countries have different approaches to patient care and may not provide the exact same care and medication types but these letters help the healthcare professionals in a different country understand the approach you'd expect in the UK or ROI. You should also consider ordering a GHIC card (the post-brexit replacement for the EHIC card

Note: Hydrocortisone sodium succinate (previously known as Solu-Cortef) is more stable in hot weather (above 25ºC) so this may be a prudent choice for those planning a trip abroad, but always check the individual patient information leaflets provided with your medication to check. Read more.

Read more about adrenal crisis guidelines and download the English version

Cantonese Our thanks to Heather Mocatta and her GP in Hong Kong and to ADSHG trustee Phillip Yeoh for their assistance in translating these guidelines
German Our thanks to Professor Wiebke Arlt of Birmingham Medical School and Julie Watson for their assistance with the German translation.
Greek Our thanks to Dr Harry Kafetzidis, Dr Elena Ioannidou and Julie Watson for their work on the Greek translation.
French Our thanks to Pierre-Andre and Marie-Helene Mourgue d'Algue, the French Association Surrenales, Julie Watson and colleagues at the University of Southampton for their assistance with the French translation.
Italian Our thanks to Prof. Corrado Betterle, Antonella Campodall'Orto and the Associazione Italiana Pazienti Addison for their assistance with the Italian translation.
Mandarin Our thanks go to Zhou Yingxia (senior endocrine nurse at Ruijin Hospital, China), Fan Yinghong (Chinese teacher, Old Welwyn, UK), Steve Barker (now retired from the British Council) and to ADSHG trustee Phillip Yeoh for their assistance in translating these guidelines.
Portuguese Our thanks to Dr Manuel Carlos Lemos of the Health Sciences Research Centre, University of Beira Interior and Julie Watson and colleagues at the University of Southampton for their assistance with the Portuguese translation.
Spanish Our thanks to Dr Susan Webb of Barcelona Medical School and Estibaliz Gomez Unzueta for their assistance with the Spanish translation.
Thai Our thanks to Dr Petpring Prajuabpansri of Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok and colleagues of Andrew Glass at the British Council in Thailand for their assistance with the Thai translation.
Russian We would like to thank Dr George Sikhaluridze of the MedicAlert Foundation UK for his work in developing the translation.

Plan for airport restrictions

Heightened airport security means it's important that you plan ahead if you have Addison’s and adrenal insufficiency. This means you'll avoid running into any last-minute problems at airport security. Airport restrictions are subject to change, so contact your airline directly before you travel.

Passengers are permitted to carry essential medical equipment through airport security in hand luggage, though all medication and equipment must be supported by documentation from a relevantly qualified medical professional. The doctor's letter should be shown to the airline staff, and if you do encounter any problems you should request to speak to a manager or senior member of staff. Information for airport security can also include the adrenal crisis guidelines letter and your steroid emergency card. Security are less likely to question an injection kit if it is well labelled, such as the kits available from our online shop.

There is no restriction on the number of tablets you take through airport security, but as mentioned you will need to take documentation from a medical professional or your prescription for authentication. You should also split your medication across hand language and your suitcase, so you have two lots of medication in case your luggage gets lost.

Carrying sharps and medication will be subject to authentication, so always check before you travel. Travelling to a venue? Read our 'Sharps into Venues' article.

Sunflower scheme: non-visible disabilities

Most airports participate in the Sunflower lanyard scheme, so they can instantly recognise you have a hidden disability and give you the support you need. This allows you to travel independently through an airport whilst knowing that if you need any additional support during your journey, airport staff will be able to support you. Many Sunflower lanyards are free from Assistance desks at airports, for example Heathrow. Please visit the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower website to find out more.

Researching before you travel

You may find it helpful to see if there is a local patient support group in the country you are visiting. Your internet browser may offer a 'translate' feature to help if the site is not written in English. You may be able to contact the group to ask any questions you have about emergency treatment in that location.

Visit our list of Patient Support Groups in other countries

European emergency cards

You might also be interested in ordering an emergency card in a European language from AdrenalNET. AdrenalNET have worked with adrenal patient support groups across Europe to align their emergency advice (which may differ from the ADSHG or NHS treatment advice), putting it into a set of cards in different languages.  If you wish to confirm the accuracy, efficacy or reliability of the cards in the context of the health systems in the European countries you are planning to visit, please contact AdrenalNET directly or visit the websites of major healthcare providers based in the location.

Global Health Insurance Card

Under Britain’s new agreement with the EU, UK residents’ rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare will continue when travelling in the EU. This includes medically necessary treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition. Read about and apply for a free-of-charge GHIC card.

Travel insurance

An GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. Make sure you have both before you travel. Read the advice from the UK government about the importance of travel insurance.

Before You Go

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