Travelling Tips For Asthma Patients

Management of asthma is the most important part of its treatment. Asthmatics can travel and should do so, but must be aware of their condition, plan the trip well, and be willing to make preparations for travel with all seriousness. Right from getting your condition evaluated, to choosing your destination, companions and mode of travel, careful planning can help prevent a pleasure trip from being a nightmare.  
Travelling Tips for Asthma Patients
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Asthmatics need to live with it. They also need to ensure that they take all necessary precautions, particularly when travelling away from the familiar zone of their homes. It is important to ensure that the underlying asthma does not get exacerbated for that would not only bring a lot of suffering, but also be costly and sometimes a great inconvenience to the host, if there was one. In any case, it is better to be safe, and being well prepared can be difference between being safe and being sorry.


Understanding the Vulnerabilities

Travelling is a time when you expose yourself to many

vulnerabilities. Worsening of asthma is one of them. This does not mean that you should never travel. It does mean, however, that while travelling, you make sure that you are in control, which will be the case when you are aware of what all can be possibilities, have some idea about their probabilities, and know what to do even if faced with the worst.

Travelling for any person is a period of stress and uncertainties, for which one should always be prepared in advance. If you add the uncertainty of an asthma attack, you need to be that much more careful in your preparations. Thus, being in control, also means that you are well prepared, have the tools that you can have with you during your travel, and for the rest, have the information to avail the best available remedies. Most of what you need to do revolves around simple common sense. For a beginner, it would make sense to take the following steps.

1.   Do not travel if your asthma is not under control

If you are not sure that your asthma is stable and under control with long term regular medications, then that is not the right time for travel. If you have been experiencing a worsening of your symptoms of condition during the last few days, then that is also a sign to postpone your trip. Such precaution is far better than emergency hospitalization or panic return in the middle of the trip later. Before you embark on a trip, make sure that you are fit and in control of asthma. A visit to your physician, and a thorough check-up can be one of the best possible ways to prepare a trip, especially a long trip or an adventurous one. You can also discuss with your physician, the possibility of getting immunization, especially a flu shot, before you leave.

2.   Avoid travel and adventures that put you under risk

It makes sense to know what can worsen asthma and create problems for you. So if you are not used to cold environment, then avoid taking an adventure trip to high altitude colder regions, where the sudden change in temperature may precipitate an attack. Similarly, avoiding the pool can be a necessary precaution, if you know that puts you in risk, either because of your allergies, or because of the temperature.

Similarly, if you are allergic to dust, then avoid going to places that are dusty and expose you to allergens. For most patients of moderate asthma or worse, trips that involve heavy exposure to pollen and moulds could be risky. Unless you have tried it earlier and are reasonably sure that you are safe with the exposure to those areas, you should either avoid such exposure, or be careful, to say the least.

3. Carefully choose your mode of travel and stay

Planning wisely can save you from a lot of trouble. Car travel increases exposure to pollen and moulds, and can precipitate an attack. If you can afford better alternatives, even if that me be only for part of your travel, those alternatives could be worth considering. Alternatively, keeping car windows closed would be the least that should do. For Air Travel, the risk could be food, so it would be preferable to enquire about the food offered in the flight that plan to take, and where the facility is available, to make request for your preferences.

Equally important is the place where you stay. For a patient of asthma, it would be more economic to spend a few dollars more on a place with better hygiene, than take the risk of precipitating an attack. Enquiring about the location, surroundings, in particular, risk of allergens therein could

be useful. Choosing a place where you have been in the same part of the year earlier could always be safer.

If you are taking a cruise, you should find out what kind of medical facilities they have on board, and plan accordingly. If you are taking a long flight, make sure to have your medication with you with the prescription. If you are travelling by road, be aware of the possibility of getting stuck in a no man’s land, if the vehicle breaks down and be prepared for that, mainly with your medications.

3.   Company is preferable

If you are just travelling to another place where you are going to have friends, then it is fine. Otherwise, it is preferable to travel in a group, especially if your asthma has a tendency to worsen frequently. Make sure that your companion knows all about your asthma, medication and your physician when you are travelling, and is also aware of the Asthma Kit that you are carrying along.

4.   Ensure availability of medicines

This is without doubt, the most important part of your travel preparation, so take it very seriously. The worst possible nightmare one can have is not have medicines readily available during travel. So make sure that you are carrying your medication in sufficient quantity, with back-ups. Always have some medicines ready on your person, and most importantly, never travel without your prescription and medical details. You must also remember that treatment of sudden attack is different from regular medicines and keep the medicines for a possible worsening also readily available with you.

If you have an Asthma Action Plan, it could be handy. In case you do not have one, just jot down the medications that you are carrying, and see whether you would need something else if your asthma worsens. Advice from the physician can also be handy, and it would not be a bad idea to write it down and keep it with your prescription, because when panic strikes, we often fail to make the best use of our memories.

5.   Know where you are going & the facilities available there

If you are travelling to a new place, make sure that you are aware of the medical facilities available there. In you are not sure whether you can get your prescribed medicines, carry enough for your travel. Also, it will do no harm to browse or enquire from the travel managers about the details of these facilities and talk to them yourself before you leave. Being aware of the local medical facilities that will be covered by your medical insurance or any other health facility could be very helpful, and save you from unavoidable expenses.

6.   Do not overdo yourself

While travelling can often be great fun, and you must not be a spoilsport in the group, you should also know the limits that keep you safe. It would be worse for everybody if your asthma worsens and the others are forced to curtail their enjoyment. Better safe than sorry.

6.   Always have a backup plan

In spite of all your preparedness, it is still possible to have a worsening of asthma during the travel. In such a case you should not be at a loss. So always keep a backup plan ready. Ensure that in case of any emergency you would be able to secure a seat on the returning flight. Carry necessary cash or card for this purpose.

With these precautions, an ounce of common sense and necessary medicines, you would feel doubly confident on your trip, and be able to enjoy it fully without being scared of an uncertain worsening of asthma. Once you are in control, nothing can stop you.

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