Having a chronic disease can interfere with several aspects of your regular life. It can become even more debilitating when you have a serious respiratory disorder, such as asthma. Whether you’re planning an outing with your friends or going on a solo vacation, the thought of having your next asthma attack always lingers at the back of your mind.
But this doesn’t mean asthma should stop you from traveling and exploring faraway places. It’s a fairly common respiratory disorder that affects roughly 25 million people in the U.S. This means living a normal life and traveling with asthma shouldn’t be exceptionally difficult.
However, if you have asthma, the thought of traveling to an unfamiliar place can send chills down your spine. What if the high altitude at your vacation spots causes unbearable breathing difficulties? What if you run out of your prescription medication in a remote country? What if you get an asthma attack in the middle of an excursion?
The good news is that a bit of prior planning will ensure that you have a seamless trip. In this blog, we’ve outlined a few effective tips to help you travel with asthma. Let’s take a look.
1. Take Care of The Basics
First things first - you need to choose a location that won’t exacerbate your anxiety. Check the altitude, air quality, pollen index, humidity, and temperature in a location before you decide to travel there.
Additionally, whenever you’re heading out for a trip, make sure you visit your doctor beforehand. Ask them about the precautions you need to take for the journey. Also, they’ll help you formulate a plan to recover from an asthma attack in an unfamiliar location.
Next, if you’re taking pills to deal with asthma, your doctor will prescribe sufficient medication for the entire trip. They’ll also advise you on any other supplies, such as a nebulizer or peak flow meter, that you might need to carry.
This is also a good time to talk to your doctor about the presence of potential triggers in your travel destination. Ask them for ways to avoid or manage these triggers while you’re traveling.
Once you’ve consulted your doctor and made your reservations, the next step is to purchase a rock-solid travel insurance plan. Make sure the plan covers the cost of getting emergency treatment if you get an attack during the trip.
2. Pack Wisely
You already know that you need to carry adequate stock of medicines, inhalers, and other asthma-related supplies. But you should avoid the mistake of packing these supplies in your check-in luggage. Although a rarity, your check-in baggage could still get misplaced, damaged, or stolen.
It’s wiser to pack your medication and other essential supplies in the carry-on baggage. Also, irrespective of where you’re staying, bring your own pillow covers, bedsheets, and blankets, if feasible.
You could also consider keeping an “asthma card” handy to get emergency help while you’re having an attack. Include relevant information about the disease and what kind of immediate treatment you’ll need. Also, keep a scanned copy of your latest prescription on your phone.
3. Choose the Right Accommodation
Irrespective of whether you want to stay in a plush resort or cozy homestay, make sure you choose a non-smoking property. Otherwise, residual tobacco and smoke in your room could trigger an asthma attack.
Also, it’s a good idea to steer clear of pet-friendly accommodation options. Lastly, make sure you inform the property about your health condition before you arrive. Ask them to thoroughly clean the room and check whether they provide hypoallergenic bedding.
4. Step Out with Caution
Now that you’ve reached your destination, the first thing you want to do is go out sightseeing. But before doing that, make sure you check the air quality at tomorrow.io to understand whether it’s a good idea to go outside.
This is crucial because allergens and pollutants in the air act as asthma triggers. Even if you decide to step outside, don’t forget to wear a mask. Also, make sure you clean your clothes and take a shower whenever you return from an excursion.
5. Devise an Emergency Plan
Whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, you should find out the location and contact number of the nearest hospital. Also, save the contact number for ambulance service on your phone. If you’re on a solo trip, make sure you keep your family members informed about where you're going and how you’re feeling health-wise.
Do you have any other tips for traveling with asthma? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.