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  » Advice for travelers  »  Asthma and Travel

Asthma and travel

Some travellers find their symptoms improve during travel, perhaps related to less allergens or to climate differences. Others find symptoms worsen for similar reasons and sometimes from the stress of travel. Whatever the case planning in advance can help you to adjust to your new surroundings.

Travel insurance
Make sure your insurance covers you for costs related to pre-existing asthma.

Before departure
It's important that your asthma is under control before you leave home. If you don't already know, ask your doctor how to handle your asthma if it deteriorates during your trip.

A written report from you doctor
Ask your doctor for a report to include your medical history, the severity of your condition and what treatment you need in case of medical attention. Carry this document with you at all times in case of an emergency so that you can show it to those looking after you. You might need to present your doctor's report to international customs officials if they question your medication.

Your medications
Take a little more medication than you think you'll need, - just in case - and always keep a supply of your medication with you in your carry bag

Consider taking a prescription in case you lose all or some of your supplies and take copies of your prescriptions with you to prove the medicine is for your own personal use.

A spacer device is cheap and portable and is usually a better choice for travelling than a nebuliser. If you need a nebuliser pump remember voltages may be different (240V or 110V) and power point sockets vary so take an appropriate adaptor. You will need to make prior arrangements with the airline if you need to use your nebuliser on board the aircraft. Alternatively, you can use a foot-powered nebuliser or one that is operated by sealed dry cell battery. Make sure you understand how to use any unfamiliar equipment before you leave.

Physical activity
If your asthma is normally well controlled, you should be able to go sightseeing, trekking, swimming and generally enjoy any other leisure activity you wish. If your asthma is manageable at sea level, then you should have no problems in areas of higher altitude. Remember, scuba diving is dangerous for a person with asthma and should be avoided.

Weather and pollution
Temperature changes and sudden exposure to cold and dry air can bring on asthma symptoms. Air pollution can be very severe in cities where there are no controls over petrol and diesel exhausts – this is common in the Far East.