Though rarely talked about, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are more common than you’d think, responsible for almost 10 million doctor visits each year. 

To put that into perspective, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the only infection treated more often than UTIs in emergency rooms across the United States is pneumonia.

Catheters are a major source of UTIs, as bacteria can travel to the bladder through or around the catheter surface; which is why as catheter users, it’s always extremely important to practice clean catheterization techniques.

Easier said than done, right?

We all know that practicing good hygiene is simple when you’re in the comfort of your own home. But what if you’re out and about?

Traveling to a new city (or country!) where you’re not familiar with the people and surroundings is difficult for the average person. But for catheter users, it poses a whole other set of questions to think about:

What is the bathroom etiquette?
Are public bathrooms readily available?
How can I discreetly carry my catheters with me?
Will I be able to follow my regular catheterization routine?

Luckily, it doesn’t need to be so difficult. We’ve outlined our top five tips for catheterizing when traveling, and most importantly, staying UTI-free!

    1. Stay hydrated
      You’ve heard it plenty of times before – each day, you should be drinking half your bodyweight in water (in ounces, that is). Staying hydrated, and thus, urinating, helps your body rid itself of bacteria and toxins. UTIs are caused when bacteria present in the bladder multiply, so it’s important to flush them out of the system regularly.
      Though it sounds simple, hydration is usually the least of your concerns when traveling. But before you know it, you start feeling dehydrated. Our tip? Pack an empty, reusable water bottle in your luggage, and aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day – that’s about 2 liters!

 

    1. Practice good hygiene
      You know the drill. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap before handling your catheter–this will decrease the amount of bacteria transferred to your genitalia and lower the risk of developing UTIs.
      But what if you don’t have access to soap or a sink? When traveling, don’t take any chances. It’s always a good idea to carry some disinfectant wipes in your pocket or bag, just in case.

 

    1. Maintain a sterile environment when catheterizing
      In an ideal world, you would catheterize only when the conditions are exactly right–in a sterile environment with gloves, swabs, or a collection bag. However, let’s be honest. It’s hard to recreate this environment outside of a hospital, and is especially difficult with everyday errands, active lives, and trips away from home.
      That’s why having an all-in-one catheter like CompactCath–that’s pre-lubricated and non-touch–is so important when you’re out and about; so you can reduce the stress involved with catheterizing outside the comfort of your home.

 

    1. Don’t resist the urge to go
      Bacteria can grow and multiply when urine stays in the bladder for prolonged periods of time, so when you gotta go, you gotta go.
      Before your trip, find a catheter that you’re 100% comfortable using, giving you peace of mind when catheterizing in an unfamiliar situation. Bonus points if it’s also discreet and compact so you can stick it in your pocket for those “on-the-go” emergencies.

 

    1. Never reuse catheters
      When traveling, it’s often instinctive to want to be conservative about the number of catheters used, because let’s face it, you don’t want the slightest possibility that you’ll run out!
      However, the FDA considers all intermittent urinary catheters as single-use only, so please dispose your catheters after each use. If you ever find yourself needing extra catheters on your trip, contact your distributor or catheter manufacturer’s local office – they’ll be more than happy to provide it.

 

Planning a trip soon? Give CompactCath a try. It’s compact, pre-lubricated, and non-touch. Best of all, it’s small enough to fit right in your pocket. Get your free samples today.