Travelling with Asthma
Asthma is a common medical condition, with 1 out of 5 households having an affected family member. Asthma can affect you in different ways; whether it is through sporting activities or even day to day life an asthma attack can appear suddenly causing breathlessness, wheezing, tightness in the chest and/or pain.
If you have asthma symptoms 3 times or more in a week, your Doctor will prescribe you an inhaler. These come in two different colours; blue (reliever) and brown (preventer). Although the symptoms of asthma can appear suddenly in some circumstances, it is important to remember that it is possible to enjoy a well-deserved break if you simply prepare and follow our advice.
Tips for Travelling with Asthma
- If your asthma has been flaring up prior to travel, make an appointment in advance with your Doctor for a checkup.
- Choose your destination carefully; will there be things that are likely to trigger your asthma attacks, such as a high pollen count or contact with animals?
- It is important to bring your inhaler and medications with you on holiday, including spares. Other things to bring include your Doctor's phone number, copies of prescriptions (if applicable) and your asthma care plan.
- Make a note of the full title of your medicines and not just the trading name. For more information visit our Taking Medication Abroad page.
- Travelling in colder climates can affect your asthma symptoms, as well as High Altitudes.
- If dust is a main asthma trigger, be aware that buses, cars or trains can have dust or mold in the upholstery. If you're travelling by car, ask the driver to turn on the air conditioning and have the windows open for 10 minutes to help ventilation. However if pollen or air pollution is a trigger, keep the windows closed and turn on the air conditioning.
- The air in planes is very dry, therefore it is important to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated as well as having your medications to hand, just in case.
If You Have an Asthma Attack on Holiday
- Sit down in a safe place.
- Use your inhaler and try to breathe deeply, steadily and slowly. Focus on your breathing and count between each breath you take. Try to hold them for 2-5 seconds and getting longer each time, this will help you to slow down your breathing and regain control.
- Loosen your clothing if it feels tight.
- Relax for a few minutes after your asthma attack and drink plenty of water to rehydrate. If you're travelling on your own, it is important to enjoy your trip and have fun while also looking after yourself by taking precautions; check the pollen count before going on a hike, talk to your Doctor about participating in sports activities and carry a copy of your asthma plan with you in case you need help.
- If you need any medical help as a result of your asthma attack, contact your travel insurance provider's appointed medical assistance team for advice. Make sure you have declared your pre-existing condition before you travel.
Did we miss anything? Let us know what your tips are for travelling with asthma in the comments below. If you found this article to be helpful, please share it with friends and family to help others learn about asthma.