Now that fall is in full swing; people will soon be traveling to see loved ones and friends during the holiday season. But travel can be problematic for people who suffer from asthma. They have to adjust to new environments with varying temperatures and potential triggers everywhere. This should not stop you from traveling, but you should be prepared.
Here are some travel tips for people who suffer from asthma:
1. Pack an asthma travel kit – Healthcare providers can advise people to make sure that they have their controller and rescue medications required for the duration of their trip, plus an updated asthma action plan, and any spacers or asthma-related devices.
2. Stay up-to-date on immunizations and avoid infections – Healthcare providers can remind asthma patients to get an annual flu vaccine, as well as take preventative measures against respiratory infections, like washing their hands frequently.
3. Review asthma triggers – Healthcare providers can help people review asthma triggers and strategize ways to avoid them. The most common triggers include tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroaches, pets, mold, and smoke from burning wood. Seek out smoke-free hotel rooms, or even smoke-free hotels. If you are sensitive to pollen, avoid going to destinations during peak pollen season. For those sensitive to dust mites, pack dust-impermeable mattress and pillow covers for the trip. If you are visiting a family or friend’s home, ask about things that might trigger you so that you can make alternative accommodations if needed.
4. Recognize asthma symptoms – Always be aware of your symptoms and monitor them if they seem to be getting worse. If symptoms get worse, it will be helpful to identify a doctor in the area that can help if need be. It’s also a good idea to tell your travel companions about what they can do to help if symptoms do occur.
5. Prepare for temperature changes – Some people with asthma may experience worsening symptoms because of extreme changes in temperature. People in hot or humid climates should try to stay indoors. If you are in cold areas, you should bundle up and cover your nose and mouth, especially if you are above 9000 feet as the air is extra dry and cold.
6. Consider skipping the pool – Chlorine and other pool chemicals may make asthma symptoms worse, should people should avoid the pool if the area is not well ventilated or the water has a strong chemical smell.
Talk with your healthcare provider for the best advice, but by taking some of these tips into consideration, you may have an easier time traveling when you have asthma.