Tips for Travelers Dealing with Asthma

Posted by Michael Hood-Julien on Jul 8, 2015 10:00:00 AM


Having asthma can make going to new places more difficult. However, by planning ahead, one can still have a great time even while dealingl with the challenges that present themselves with asthma.

Health experts advise that you should prepare for your trip about 4 to 6 weeks before you travel.  Here are 5 things to keep in mind as part of your preparation:

Health check

It is important to consult your primary care physician or asthma nurse traveling to review your personal asthma action plan.  This up-to-date, written plan is the best resource to treat your asthma on a daily basis. It is used to recognize the severity of your asthma and what medication to take to stay well.

It is always a good idea to take spare inhalers and medicines in case of an emergency. A print-out of regular prescriptions, including the generic names of medicines, can be useful in the case of a medical emergency. 

Asthma Triggers

Knowing particular asthma triggers can help with creating an optimum environment. For example, feather pillows can make asthma symptoms worse, so consider carrying a non-feather alternative. Booking a non-smoking room is advisable if one foresees tobacco smoke to be a stressor. Take note of certain activities, like scuba diving, or allergens that may provoke an asthma attack. 

Air Travel

High altitudes mean reduced oxygen levels. Individuals with shortness of breath may require a special evaluation before flying. Keep asthma medication in hand luggage, so that it is always nearby and unable to go missing with checked-in luggage.

Medicines that are liquids, gels or creams that exceed 100ml in your hand luggage need prior approval from the airline and airport and a letter from your doctor or a prescription. All asthma medicines should have their original packaging and prescription label clearly visible.

Travel Immunization

A primary care physician or the practice nurse can identify what vaccinations and precautions are necessary when travelling to a foreign country. It is important to inform the physician or nurse about any recently used high-dose oral steroids before any vaccinations take place.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance may cover asthma treatment. Check with your primary insurance and your travel insurance to see if they cover your asthma while travelling. Shop around for the best deal as quotes vary depending on your age, medication and destination.

For travel in Europe, make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to reduced-cost and sometimes frees medical treatment.

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