One in five households in the UK is home to someone with asthma according to the NHS and like anyone with a long-term medical condition, there is a bit more to think about when travelling abroad than the standard holiday maker.
However, if you love travelling you shouldn’t let asthma keep you at home, with the correct planning and preparation in place you can eliminate potential problems early on and concentrate on enjoying yourself.
Preparing for your trip
You should visit your GP who can advise you on any extra medication you may need to take with you and the best ways to deal with the condition whilst you’re away as well informing you of any vaccinations that you may need to have prior travelling.
If you have severe asthma, the reduced air pressure in an airplane cabin can cause problems. Speak to your GP or asthma nurse who may ask you to do a ‘fitness to fly assessment’ or refer you for a ‘hypoxic challenge’. This will predict how well you can cope with the conditions in an aircraft cabin, and your GP may advise that you need in-flight oxygen as a result.
Aside from visiting your GP, there’s plenty you can do to help ensure you have a relaxing holiday:
- Make sure you have an asthma attack card and a personal asthma action plan in place as it helps you to recognise deteriorating asthma and alter your treatment accordingly.
- Consider the weather of your destination. Warmer climates tend to be humid which makes an ideal environment for pollen and mould, two factors which often offset asthma.
- Research the pollen seasons of your desired destination, it’s likely to be different than in the UK and there may be pollens present that aren’t found in the UK.
- It is worth avoiding countries where you will experience high air pollution which can lead to breathing difficulties and often asthma attacks. Take a look at some of the worst countries for air pollution here.
- When finding accommodation try booking a non-smoking room with air conditioning in place, if being exposed to feather pillows makes your condition worse it may be worth either taking your own or contacting the hotel to ensure they have a non-feather alternative available.
During the journey
Your medication is likely to be your biggest priority when travelling to your destination, one of the most common questions asked by asthmatics is can you take an inhaler on a plane? You can carry essential medicines on board which exceed 100ml, however you will need prior approval from the airline and airport backed up by a letter from your GP or a prescription. There are a few further requirements when it comes to medication:
- Take a copy of your regular prescriptions, including the generic names of medicines, in case you need assistance during your trip or you need to replace it.
- Carry all your asthma medication as hand luggage in case you’re checked luggage goes missing or is damaged in the baggage hold and bring spare inhalers.
- All asthma medication taken on board must be in its original packaging, with the prescription label and the contact details of the pharmacy clearly visible.
When you arrive
Once you’ve arrived at your destination it’s time to relax and keep in mind a few final pointers:
- Think about your asthma and altitude when planning your days out. If your asthma is triggered by the cold, the lower temperatures at high altitudes may be a problem and the extra exercise involved in climbing at high altitude might trigger asthma in some people.
- Physical excursion can be a trigger for asthma for everyone so if you’re thinking about doing anything that might fall into the ‘extreme sports’ category, such as scuba diving or skiing, Asthma UK recommends discussing your plans with your GP first.
Looking for Travel Insurance for Asthma?
Having asthma should not stop you enjoying your holidays. If you pass the medical screening and your doctor has declared you fit enough to travel, Staysure can often offer travel insurance for asthma. Policies cover emergency medical treatment, repatriation and much more while you are away.
Apply a quote online in a matter of minutes or talk to our travel insurance team on 0800 033 4902.