Pre-travel planning and good control are the most important aspects of travel for the asthmatic traveller.
Sort out your supplies and equipment
Get your GP to write a letter confirming that you are an asthmatic, along with a prescription for your medication, enough for the trip, and a bit more. A letter from your GP, listing your medication, will help in an emergency. Also discuss with your asthma specialist a plan of action for you to follow should your asthma become more severe while you are away. You will need a record of which medication you need to take and when it is advisable to seek medical advice. Your medication should be suitable for the worst attack you have ever had.
Carry your inhalers with you at all times and keep a spare one in your hotel room or accommodation. If you feel unwell, take regular peak flow readings and compare this to your normal rate. It is important that you seek medical attention if your condition deteriorates while you are away.
You might also want to purchase some Identification with your asthmatic information on.
Research your destination
Do some research into the location you are travelling to regarding pollution in the area; pollution in some cities around the world can easily initiate an asthma attack. Look into the availability of English speaking doctors in the area, should you need to seek medical attention.
The desire to dip into cool water after a busy day can be enticing to anyone. Along with abiding by normal diving rules, asthmatics should not dive for 48 hours after a wheezing attack, however mild that attack might be.
Asthma can be unpredictable when travelling to a high altitude – some people away from the allergens and dust find they have no problems, while others find their asthma is worse in the cold, dry air.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can affect anyone travelling to a high altitude (above 3000 meters) and holds no extra risk to the controlled asthmatic. However, an asthma attack as well as AMS will greatly increase the risks involved. You should carry inhalers with you at all times, however ‘mild’ you may consider your condition.
If you are aware of certain allergies, such as feathers in pillows, inform your hotel ahead of time so that your accommodation can be prepared in advance.
If you are known to also develop serious reactions to insect bites, stings or nuts, discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking an Epipen with you along with a letter explaining its use for medical emergencies.
Note: This information is designed to complement and not replace the relationship that exists with your existing family doctor or travel health professional. Please discuss your travel health requirements with your regular family doctor or practice nurse.