Asthma – A Travel Companion : Health Travel Guide
Part of the fun of travelling is being in a completely different place. But if you have asthma, a new environment can seem less fun. There’s always the worry that something unexpected may cause an asthma flare-up. Luckily, some simple preparation can help you be ready.
Traveling With Asthma
Before You Go
Make sure that your asthma is well controlled. If your asthma has been flaring up, check with your doctor before you go on your trip. He or she may need to adjust your medicine or ask you to come in for a visit.
When packing, remember all medicine you’re taking for your asthma, including quick relief and long-term control medicines. Keep all medicines in your bag. It’s also a good idea to pack a little extra medicine than you think you might need. That way, you don’t run out if something unexpected comes up.
If you’re leaving the country, get a letter from your doctor that describes your asthma and your medicines. This can help you with airport security or customs.
It’s also a good idea to know the generic names of your medicines. These are the chemical names of the medicine, not the brand name of the drug company has given it. If you need to get a refill in another country, the medicine might have a different brand name. Your pharmacist or doctor can give you the generic names of the medicines you take.
Be sure to take a copy of your asthma action plan, your health insurance card, and your doctor’s phone number.
Buses, Trains & Cars
Trains, buses and even your car might have dust mites and mold trapped in the seats, carpets or ventilation system.
- If you’re travelling by bus, train, or other public transport, make sure you’ve taken your long-term control medicine and you have your quick-relief inhaler handy.
- When you’re travelling by car, ask the driver to run the AC or heater with the windows open for atleast 10mins before you get into the car. If pollen or air pollution trigger your asthma and counts are high, travel with the windows closed and the AC on.
Smoking is banned on flights, or they have non-smoking sections. But smoking is still permitted by law on charter flights. If you are on a charter flight, find out about their smoking policy. Ask to be seated in the non-smoking section. The air on planes is very dry. This can trigger an asthma flare-up. Make sure you have your quick-relief inhaler handy and try to drink a lot of water.
Away From Home
If you’re staying in hotel, you may find that something in the room triggers your asthma. Given below are some tips that can help:
- Ask for a sunny, dry room away from the hotel pool.
- If animal allergens trigger your asthma, ask for a room that has never had pets in it.
- Always ask for a non-smoking room. Tell the hotel you have asthma and cannot stay in a smoking room.
- Bring your own blanket and pillow if you can.
If you’re staying with family or friends, tell them in advance about your triggers. They won’t be able to clear away all dust mites or mold, but they can dust and vacuum carefully, especially in the room you’ll sleep in. You also can ask them to avoid using scented candles, potpourri, or aerosol products, if those bother you.
Just like at home, you’ll want to avoid smoke. Ask anyone who smokes to step outside, especially if you’re sharing a room. Wood fires in the fireplace or woodstove also could be a problem for you.
Children Traveling Alone
Carry a copy of your asthma action plan. That way, people who are traveling with you can help if you have breathing trouble.
If you don’t have a copy of your plan, let the people you travel and stay with know:
- The names and doses of medicine you take.
- The number where your parents can be reached.
- How to get in touch with your doctor if there’s an emergency.
If you ignore your asthma completely, there’s a chance you could end up at the hospital. And there’s no way you can enjoy your vacation.