Becoming more independent

Living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can make the thought of leaving the house — whether for work, education, or even just to go to the shops — a little daunting. There are a number of things you can do to help reduce stress and anxiety, enabling you to be more confident when out in public for long periods of time, or even to take a holiday! IBD shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you like.

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Leaving the house1

Pack some supplies: IBD can be unpredictable at times, which means uncomfortable symptoms can occur unexpectedly. Make a ’just in case’ kit for those emergency moments. Items you might want to consider packing include:

  • Toilet paper or wet wipes
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Clean underwear

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Work and education1

  • Employers and educational establishments have a responsibility to try to accommodate any reasonable health-related requests. If you are a student, you might find it useful to let your teachers or student services know about your requirements. Similarly, if you are in employment, you could inform your line managers or human resources. In each case, they may be able to make provisions for flexible working arrangements, deadline extensions etc.
  • If you are in an office, see if you can be seated in an area with easy access to the bathroom, or sit near the door of your lecture theatre/classroom

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Travelling2

  • When travelling abroad, use only bottled water for drinking, brushing your teeth and washing food
  • Avoid ice cubes in drinks, as these are often made with local water supplies
  • Avoid all street food
  • Do not eat any raw or undercooked foods
  • Obtain a dietary alert card, which will enable you to communicate your needs to restaurants in 18 languages3

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References

1.    Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. Tips for School. Available at: http://www.justlikemeibd.org/living-with-crohns-and-colitis/school/tips-for-school.html. [Last accessed October 1, 2019]
2.    IBD Passport. Diet and travelling. Available at: https://www.ibdpassport.com/travelling-ibd/diet. [Last accessed October 1, 2019]
3.    Dietary Card. Available at: https://www.dietarycard.com/. [Last accessed October 1, 2019]

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